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Archive for April, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011

National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada is April 23 to 30

National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada


is April 23 to 30th, 2011




Your Springtime Checklist May Not Be Complete Without Protection Against Tetanus!




Rake the lawn...check, Clean out the eaves troughs...check, Sharpen the gardening tools...check, Tetanus shot?




     Whether the last of the snow is just melting, or the gardens are already in full bloom, Canadians from coast to coast are eagerly getting ready to venture outside to cross jobs off their springtime checklist. But there is one item many Canadians may want to add to the top of their list this year - checking their immunization records to ensure their tetanus booster is up to date.


     The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion (CCIAP) would like to encourage Canadians to make sure they are protected against tetanus. The bacteria that cause tetanus live in soil, dirt and dust, and can enter the body through a cut or puncture in the skin - even a splinter is enough to let the bacteria in and cause infection.


     Adults who have not had a tetanus booster in the last 10 years could be putting themselves at risk of contracting this rare but serious disease while working on their home or garden.


"Many people have no idea when they got their last tetanus shot. If you're not sure, now is a great time to get a booster and start keeping an immunization record so that you can keep track," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chair of the CCIAP.






     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 a cut from a rusty nail, you can get tetanus from many things including anything contaminated with even small amounts of animal feces, soil and dust. A significant portion of tetanus cases are caused by minor injuries people may not think would cause tetanus - 27 per cent of tetanus cases in North America occur in people who have not previously reported an injury.


     Adults more than 60 years of age are at increased risk of tetanus infection, as they may not have been immunized against the disease when they were younger, or they may have simply forgotten to keep their immunization up to date. Immigrants to Canada may also be at risk, as many would not have received tetanus immunization in their country of origin. They should check whether they need to receive full immunization against tetanus.






To avoid contracting tetanus while working or playing outside, follow these easy steps:


1.  Ensure that your immunization is up to date


2.  Get a tetanus booster every 10 years at your local clinic, doctor's office or    travel clinic


3.  Wear gloves, protective clothing and footwear while renovating, gardening,    composting or doing yard work


4.  Be careful when using tools that could cut or puncture your skin


5.  If you are injured, clean wounds thoroughly and immediately with soap and warm water. Cover the wound and visit your doctor or the emergency room if it is a more serious injury




     Canadians can get more information about the tetanus shot from their local public health office or by visiting the CCIAP website at


     Everyone - not just parents of small children - is encouraged to learn more about how to protect themselves against vaccine-preventable disease.


Although receiving immunizations during childhood is critical, some vaccines will not provide lifelong immunity against some diseases such as tetanus (lockjaw). Helper, or booster shots are required to maintain immunity. A tetanus booster dose is recommended every ten years.


Immunization saves lives. Protect yourself, your family and your community.







Filed under: Health,  Immunization

Posted by Regional Health Authority @ 15:25 | E-mail this blog entry to a friend | PermaLink

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