Health Tip: Getting a Tetanus Shot

Don't ignore an open wound that's come in contact with soil

(HealthDay News) -- A lot of people remember getting the tetanus shot when they were small, including how sore their arms were for days afterward.

If you haven't had a tetanus shot since then, you're overdue for one.

The tetanus shot protects against a soil-borne bacterial infection that can be extremely serious or fatal. A tetanus shot is thought to protect against the infection for about 10 years, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

People who have been wounded while outdoors and then come into contact with soil need a tetanus shot, especially if they haven't been vaccinated in five years or more.

Although it's best to prevent tetanus with regular vaccinations, the infection can be treated with antibiotics. Without treatment, one in three people with tetanus will die; with treatment, the death rate drops to less than 10 percent, the Library of Medicine says.

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