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A 24-year-old female asked:

I accidentally poked my finger nail with a rusty metal between the skin and nail, i removed most of the top of the nail there are no scratch or blood, i haven't had a tetnaus shot since childhood, am i safe?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lauren Bickel
Specializes in Family Medicine
If you cleaned the area thoroughly your risk would be low for tetanus, however we strongly recommend people use this kind of injury as an excuse to update their tetanus shots (every 5-10 years) so they are protected for the future, so I do urge you to get a tetanus booster soon, & see Dr if wounded area has excessive redness, pain, or drainage
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
Define safe ? Any break in the skin can allow tetanus spores to enter /establish infection & lead to tetanus. Some wounds are more likely to than others, like working in dirt/landscaping/etc. . If nothing else this is a good time to get a tetanus booster. Make sure the wound is cleaned and monitored for infection by any germs.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Susan Rhoads
Family Medicine 39 years experience
Get a booster within 72 hours of injury.
Sep 5, 2021
Last updated Sep 8, 2021


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