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Tetanus concerns... please help...

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Yesterday DS (almost 6yo) stepped on a piece of glass in our dining room.  It was about 1/2 inch long, 1/4 inch wide and very thin.  It went deep into his foot  It was bleeding quite a bit but stopped when bandaged.  I wasn't concerned until that afternoon when DH said the word "tetanus."  Now I am worrying constantly, keep looking at it, smelling it, asking him about it.  It hasn't closed yet (probably because we've been keeping it well bandaged so it won't get dirty) and when I change the bandage there is normally a drop or two of blood.  The area around it looks bruised.  And when I put my nose right next to the wound it did smell a bit funky.


What else should I be looking for?  Should I call our doctor (family doc, ok with us not vaxing)?  I am not completely opposed to the tetanus vaccine (DS hasn't had any vax) BUT we have a religious exemption for school and I think in our state for that to hold up in court (if it ever came to that) it has to be all or none.


BUT I obviously don't want DS to get tetanus.

post #2 of 2
It's hard to know without actually seeing it, but I can post my feelings on what I would do, maybe this would help? Tetanus spores do not live in oxygenated environments, so they are usually more of a concern in a wound that gets dirt in it. But I just leaned that endoscopes can live anywhere, even indoors, and they can turn into spores if they get deep into an anaerobic environment (like a puncture wound.). However bleeding (which you say it did) forces those spores/endospores out. It's deep puncture wounds that don't bleed, those are the scary ones. H202 is good for introducing oxygen into a wound as well, but since it's been a day that wouldn't really apply here, just know for next time.

Tetanus would not smell like anything. BUT infection of other sorts would. There are lots of types of infection possible in deep wounds and if you think it's smelling badly, that might be a reason to bring him to see the doctor.

Wounds on the bottom of the foot are especially risky for infection because one is always walking on it, be very careful he always has it covered especially outdoors.

If it were me I'd bring my child to the doctor to get a "wound check.". I like the idea so I can get another set of eyes on a wound to make sure it is healing well. It's hard to check as a parent IMO because you see it every day and also it's hard to be objective when it's your own child. You can ask the doctors opinion about if they think it is a tetanus risk then as well.

If you did decide it was a tetanus risk, you would need TIG. That's tetanus immunoglobulin. A "tetanus shot" would not be applicable for an unvaxxed person as it serves as a booster to immunity that already exists due to a vaccination series, it would do nothing or a current injury. An ER or doctor usually gives the first dose of a tetanus containing vaccine at the same time as TIG because they want someone to be vaccinated for "next time" so if you decide to go that route you would need 2 more doses to make a series anyway. It's TIG that you would need for a current injury. Normally they say it's best to give TIG within 72 hours but it can be given up to a week after injury.

In summary, I think the risks of tetanus for this wound are low, but following up with your doctor seems like a good idea, even just to check its healing well regardless of tetanus concerns. Hope this helps!
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