Tetanus is an illness caused by a toxin (or poison) made by bacteria that block normal control of nerve reflexes in the spinal column. Although many people associate tetanus with rusty nails, you can get tetanus from anything contaminated with even small amounts of animal feces, soil and dust.
To avoid contracting tetanus while outside:
- Ensure your immunization is up-to-date.
- Get a tetanus booster every 10 years at your local clinic, doctor’s office or travel clinic.
- Wear gloves, protective clothing and footwear while doing yard work or other outside activities.
- Use caution with tools that could cut or puncture your skin.
- If injured, clean wounds thoroughly and immediately with soap and warm water. Bandage the wound and seek medical attention if it is a more serious injury