U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
San Antonio, TX
A 20-year-old male asked:

Scratched leg on slightly rusty bench. didn't bleed but scratched/broke skin. do i need a tetanus shot? last vaccine was at 15yo. rubbed alcohol on it

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Preventive Medicine 42 years experience
The far larger risk: is from rusty nail which has been buried in soil, is damp, & produces a deep dirty puncture wound containing necrotic tissue which allows spores of Clostridium tetani to grow and produce the neurotoxin. Study: http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/tetanus/en/index1.html. A superficial abrasion from something dry is likely comparatively quite low risk.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Alan Levine
Pediatrics 35 years experience
Maybe.......: Having had a tetanus shot 5 years ago, you should be protected. As the nail was rusty, this is considered aa tetanus-prone wound and you should discuss the possible need for a booster with your MD.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Nov 28, 2017
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.