After a wildfire, there is risk of injury as cleanup efforts begin. Tetanus is a concern for persons with both open and closed wounds, and a tetanus vaccination is recommended for all residents returning to the burn area who have not had a documented dose within the past ten years. Prompt first aid management for wounds and prevention of infection is another important consideration.
If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, a health care professional should determine if a tetanus booster is necessary, based on individual records.
- Patients without a clear history of receiving at least three tetanus vaccinations and who have any wound should get the tetanus immune globulin (TIG) as well as the tetanus vaccination.
- Tetanus in the United States is most commonly reported in people older than 40 because they are less likely to be adequately vaccinated.
- Women over 55 years of age are especially susceptible because they likely do not have protective levels of tetanus antibody.
- Diabetics are at increased risk for tetanus. Reported tetanus is about three times more common in diabetics, and fatalities are about four times more common.
- Non-acute wounds account for about 1 in 6 cases of reported tetanus; 1 in 12 reported cases had no reported injury or lesion.