"A few weeks ago I cut myself with the box cutter. I didn't rinse the wound, I just made sure to cover it with a plaster. My tetanus vaccination expired in 2021. In recent weeks I have experienced short-lived muscle spasms and a slight contracture in the neck. A few days ago I had the anti-tetanus vaccine, but today I feel scattered muscle pains (arms, legs). I took it too lightly, what do you advise me to do?"
Tetanus begins to present itself clearly with spasms and muscle contractures: clearly, if this symptomatology persists, it is necessary to be seen in hospital. In general, a small wound, especially one that is small and clean, is usually associated with a very low risk of tetanus. Among other things, the fact that the vaccination expired in 2021, therefore on a not distant date, makes the diagnosis of tetanus unlikely.
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I hurt myself with a rusty nail, do I have to get the tetanus vaccination?
* Marco Falcone is SIMIT Secretary, infectious disease specialist at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Pisan Hospital, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa