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Fort Lauderdale, FL
A 53-year-old male asked:

Got stuck in the fore arm with a rusty nail , last tetanus shot 5-6 yrs ago, arm hurts /swollan/redish around cut.can i wait till morning to see how i?

4 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lori Semel
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Yes: If you received the tetanus shot documented 5-6 years ago, it is fine. However, you dont say when you got the injury and it sounds like it could be infected. If the puncture is more than 24 hours ago, I would be evaluated for an infection asap.
Dr. Derek Isenberg
Emergency Medicine 17 years experience
Okay for morning: Tetanus takes days to weeks to develop, so there is no rush to get to your doctor to get a tetanus booster. However the bigger risk is infection, and you should see your doctor in the morning to evaluate the need for antibiotics
Dr. John Kayvanfar
Sports Medicine 47 years experience
Go to ER IF: If pain and rednees get suddenly worse. You nned Defenatively antibiotic, because PA bacteria could cause a lot of problem at times but sensative to pennicillin, somtomes are mixed organism and Ancef (cefazolin) needs to be added.
Dr. Dan Fisher
Internal Medicine 28 years experience
See below.: Tetanus shot is probably good although would certainly not hurt to get another. Major concern is acute infection with much more common organisms such as staph and strep. Anytime there is rapidly expanding or advancing redness, pain, swelling and / or fever you need to see a doc ASAP to be treated or closely monitored. If this is not the case then waiting a few hours to start treatment is OK.

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Last updated Oct 17, 2014

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