Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Have you had your Tetanus shot lately?
My seventeen-year-old son, Aidan, and I are going on a trip over Spring Break. Our trip's destination? Various building and construction sites where tools, nails, sharp objects and lots of dirt will be. Recently, Aidan went to his doctor for his annual physical and the doctor recommended he get a tetanus booster. This got me to thinking, "Hmmm...when was the last time *I* had a tetanus booster?"
I had absolutely no idea. So, I made an appointment for MY physical and to get a tetanus booster shot:
It turns out, I should have gotten a booster a long time ago and not just because I'm going on a trip. Did you know that tetanus spores can be found in the soil and in the intestines and feces of many household and farm animals and humans? I sure didn't. Not ever having given it much thought, I assumed tetanus was something people got from puncturing themselves on something rusty - I hadn't really considered anything beyond that.
It's no big surprise that I hadn't gotten a booster shot (or a physical) recently, though. I seriously hate going to the doctor:
But with tetanus as my motivator, here I was. Having now done a bit of reading on the whole tetanus scenario, I've learned that when people work on farms and ranches where they come into contact with animal wastes, they have a higher chance of getting tetanus.
--> If you garden, you should also get a tetanus shot. The tetanus bacterium can live in the dirt.
-->If you have a dog, you should get a tetanus shot. If your dog (or any dog) happens to bite you, it can be transmitted to you that way.
-->If you deal regularly with manure and farm animals, which I do, you should REALLY get a tetanus shot.
Various ways that tetanus bacteria can be passed on to people is from puncture wounds, such as those received from stepping on a nail, or from cuts or scratches from barbed wire, splinters, animal or insect bites, self-piercing, self-performed tattoos, and injecting drugs.
My doctor said I looked like a very healthy person and sent me off for my tetanus booster shot. Look at what a good girl I am:
The nurse giving the injection was a good girl, too, because she let me photograph her through the whole procedure. I think she thought I was weird but, still, she let me do my thing:
On a perfect day, I would have been finished and gotten to go home, but the doctor had also asked for some standard lab work to check my cholesterol, blood sugar, whether I'm anemic, etc. Off I went to the lab:
I *always* have to wait for what seems like hours at the lab:
Leafing through a magazine, I did find this delicious sounding tortellini recipe that I want to try:
Yum. Now I'm waiting *and* hungry:
Another magazine. Look! This bottled product is going to fight my wrinkles without damaging my skin. Now that IS good news:
At last, my name was called. The phlebotomist who took me in back looked like she was about twelve. Seriously. This seems to be happening more and more often to me. But, as long as she knows what to do with this stuff, and doesn't hurt me, I don't have a problem with her being twelve:
She was less amused by my camera than the other lady, so I was quick about it:
Then she told me there was one final test still needed:
"You know what to do, right?", she asked.
"Right", I said.
I'll keep you posted on the results.
If you would like to learn more about the tetanus bacterium and the immunization, please visit the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases site on tetanus by clicking HERE.
It has a great overview on what tetanus is, its transmission modes, and who should receive the vaccine.