What Are Some Side Effects of a Tetanus Shot?

side-effects-tetanus-shot Credit: ADAM GAULT/SPL/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Mild side effects are common following a tetanus shot, including fever, tiredness, body aches, nausea, and redness, swelling, tenderness or soreness at the injection site, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Uncommon side effects include seizures, fever above 105 F and severe allergic reactions.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, dizziness and weakness, states the CDC. Allergic reactions typically begin a few minutes to a few hours after vaccination and require emergency medical attention. Some individuals should not receive a tetanus shot, including those who have a history of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine and individuals who are moderately-to-severely ill. People with a history of seizures, nervous system problems or Guillain Barre Syndrome should speak to a doctor before receiving a tetanus vaccine.

Tetanus shots come in three different varieties: DTaP, Tdap and Td, explains WebMD and the CDC. All three vaccines contain inactivated forms of the disease toxin, causing the body to create antibodies against the diseases. Children under the age of 7 receive DTaP, which protects against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. Children and adults between the ages of 11 and 64 receive Tdap, which protects against the same diseases. The Td vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria, and health care providers give it as a booster shot every 10 years.