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Query about safety of tetanus booster shot.

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I was considering not getting my booster shot after reading the chemicals involved.
My only concern is if tetanus lives in lakes because we do a lot of swimming and boating. Would the oxygen in the water kill tetanus. How long does it live in the water? Can you get it from swimming through eye or cut ?

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Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.


Thank you for choosing DoctorSpring.

Although tetanus does not 'live' in water, water bodies can contain tetanus spore or bacteria from contamination or from soil erosion. Tetanus spores can survive for weeks in water. Flower water bodies are at thigher risk.

Even though the risk is very less you still stand a chance to get infected from deep wounds when exposed to water. Moreover you can never predict you will get any accidental wound or not. Tetanus injections are extremely safe and one of the most common used IM injections without any side effects. You should serious consider taking it.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followup questions.

Patient replied :

So you can't get tetanus from ingestion of water or lake substance and also it is not a risk from swimming eye contact? The way it is transmitted is through a puncture of the skin?
Pools and salt water Ive read are safe from tetanus?


Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.

Ingestion of water will not cause tetanus. Eye transmission is also unlikely. Pools - if open has a theoretical risk. So does sea water. But no specific cases are reported so far.

Water born risk typically occurs in scenarios like flooding where water gets contaminated with soild and landfill. And yes the way it is transferred is by puncture of the skin.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you

Patient replied :

How long can the endospores live in the environment or water. Last question thanks for being informative. Very interesting

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 2 Days.


Yes of course unless there is no eye injury there is no risk. But theoretically it can be a minor eye injury like a small corneal abrasion which you might not notice at all. If the cornea is intact there is no risk as in other parts of body. Practically you have small risk , but getting vaccinated is way better and is strongly recommended.

Thank you

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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