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Public Health Department recommends tetanus shots for those working near floodwaters

With flood assessment and cleanup efforts expected to begin soon, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health reminds homeowners, first responders and volunteers working in or near floodwaters to make certain their tetanus vaccinations are up-to-date. Tetanus shots — either Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Tdap) or Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) — for flood recovery efforts in St. Charles County can be obtained through the health department or through other medical providers.

“Floodwaters can contain many items that may be harmful to people, including bacteria, hazardous materials, animals and debris,” says Hope Woodson, Director for the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. “To protect against tetanus, we recommend that all homeowners, first responders and active volunteers be current on their Tdap or Td vaccinations.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals receive a tetanus vaccination at least every 10 years to provide protection. If an individual suffers a puncture wound or cut with possible exposure to the toxin, and his or her last tetanus vaccination was five or more years prior, a booster vaccination is recommended.

“Responder agencies and volunteer groups needing tetanus vaccinations for their members should contact the health department’s Emergency Response Planner at 636-949-7554,” Woodson added. “Homeowners can schedule an appointment through the Immunization Clinic by calling 636-949-1857. Our Immunization Clinic staff can confirm an individual’s vaccination record at the time of the scheduled appointment.”

St. Charles County Immunization Clinic

Located at 1650 Boone’s Lick Road in St. Charles, the Immunization Clinic provides recommended vaccinations for children and adults. Appointments are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and a limited number of walk-in clients are accepted on Tuesdays. To schedule an appointment with the Immunization Clinic, please call 636-949-1857.


Tetanus illness occurs when the bacterium Clostridium tetani enters the body through broken skin or wounds that are exposed to contaminated objects. The bacteria produce a toxin that can cause a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, leading to the infection’s nickname of “lockjaw.” In addition to involuntary muscle tightening, symptoms of tetanus can include headache, trouble swallowing, seizures, high fever, excessive sweating and a fast pulse. Treatment requires excessive medical assistance and aggressive wound care.

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