Medicine for the Outdoors
Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.See all posts »
New Recommendations for Tetanus Prophylaxis in Wound Management
In medical parlance, “prophylaxis” refers to the process (usually by vaccination [immunization] or administration of a protective drug [such as is done to prevent an infection, such as malaria]) whereby an adverse medical condition, such as an infection or blood clot formation, is prevented. So,”tetanus prophylaxis” refers to the situation where a person is given an injection or series of injections to prevent infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani, the causative agent of a tetanus infection. Because infection with tetanus can be very serious and even life-threatening, it is important for each of us to have active immunity.
The Immunization Branch or the State of California Department of Health Services recently released a new recommendation for tetanus prophylaxis in wound management. This was necessary because of the increasing prevalence of pertussis (“whooping cough”) in our communities, which necessitates that greater attention be paid to preventing this disease, which is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.
From this point forward, it is recommended that adolescents and adults who require tetanus toxoid vaccine for wound management should receive a single dose of Tdap (tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine instead of Td (tetanus, diptheria) vaccine.
Healthcare workers who have direct patient contact are also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to get a dose of Tdap vaccine to protect themselves, their families, and their patients.
Health care providers need to be aware of which vaccines are licensed for which age groups:
1. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis): ADACEL® (sanofi pasteur) ages 11-64 years; Boostrix® (GlaxoSmithKline) ages 10-18 years
2. DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis): DAPTACEL® (sanofi pasteur) ages 6 weeks to 7 years; TRIPEDIA® (sanofi pasteur) ages 6 weeks to 7 years; Infanrix® (GlaxoSmithKline) ages 6 weeks to 7 years; Pediarix® (GlaxoSmithKline) ages 6 weeks to 7 years
3. Td (tetanus, diphtheria): Td (sanofi pasteur) ages 7 years and older
One obvious question is which vaccine should be used for children between the ages of 7 years and 10 years? It is probably best to use the DTaP vaccine for this age group, even though no vaccine is licensed for this age group, and either Tdap or DTaP would likely induce the proper immunities.
Tags: tetanus immunization, tetanus, tetanus shot, medical, physician, health, wilderness medicine, outdoor medicine, healthline
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