How to Know When you Need a Tetanus Shot. Tetanus is a medical condition affecting the skeletal muscle occurring from an infection through a wound that causes contamination. It can involve a cut or deep puncture wound, such as stepping on a nail or getting cut with a piece of glass. As the infection worsens, muscle spasms in the jaw develop first, known as lockjaw. People of all ages need tetanus shots to prevent this condition.
Note that tetanus is a disease which can be fatal. It is caused by bacteria found in dust, soil and manure. The bacterial spores live in the soil. When introducing the bacteria to humans, they produce vegetative cells that release toxins called tetanospasm, causing your muscles to contract in uncontrolled spasms and creating seizures.
Get a tetanus shot as recommended by your doctor every 10 years. As a good practice, keep track of all tetanus shots and boosters.
Know that tetanus enters the body with a pinprick, cut, puncture wound, deep scrape, burn, or other injuries that break the skin or mucous membrane.
Determine if the object that caused the wound was dirty or clean. Any object that has dirt, soil, spit or feces on it is dirty and will require either a tetanus shot or booster unless you have recently had one.
Re-vaccinating may be necessary if you have an injury and are not sure when your last tetanus booster was. The doctor will ask if you had a booster within the last 5 years, and if not, he will want to give another booster as a precaution.