U.S. Representative Pete Sessions, the Republican from Texas, used to be a Boy Scout. Because of his training, he is encouraging victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas to get vaccinated against tetanus, especially if they have waded through dirty flood water.

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And so, to prepare for the rush of terrified (and uninformed) people wanting a tetanus shot, Texas has started “filling requests for tetanus vaccinations and is sending supplies of the vaccine to the affected areas.” 1

However, the CDC recommends one dose of the Tdap (which contains tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) to protect against tetanus infection and notes that infection doesn’t happen from flood waters. It doesn’t soak into your skin: Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy says the “old wives’ tale” that simply being in flood waters increases your risk of tetanus bacteria infection is just that, a myth.

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If you are in Texas and people are pressuring you to get a tetanus shot, direct them to the CDC‘s website. It might be the only time you need to!

Sources and References

  1. The Vaccine Reaction, August 31, 2017.