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A 34-year-old female asked:

I was just bitten by my son's hamster. it broke the skin. do i need a tetanus shot, or will i just clean it with alcohol?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jodi Ritsch
Family Medicine 28 years experience
Tetanus shot: Anytime you break the skin, it is important to be up to date on tetanus immunization. If it has been more than 10yrs, you need a tetanus shot. Clean area and see your doctor if signs of infection develop (if you are up to date with tetanus)
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Jalal Zuberi
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Just clean the wound: while pet hampsters generally don't carry tetanus or rabies, even other bacteria (tularemia)l and viral infections and fevers are extremely rare. After cleaning the wound with soap and water, rinse with antibacterial solution and cover loosely with sterile guaze. Watch for any redness or pus discharge which may indicate superficial infection needing oral antibiotics Deeper bites may need sutures.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
When was your last: tetanus shot? Hamsters can directly or indirectly transmit Rabies, Tularemia, Salmonellosis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Dermatophytosis (ringworm, dermatomycosis), Rodentolepiasis and Hymenolepiasis (tapeworms).
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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