6 doctors weighed in:

Can clean nail cause tetanus?

6 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Depends

The rusty old nail is the classic story of tetanus exposure but that is a myth.
Tetanus spores are present in the environment, with higher concentration in the soils, but no location is always free of possible contamination. Any opening in the skin can allow tetanus spores or other germs to enter. Being up to date with a tetanus booster within 10 yrs is a simple and effective prevention.

In brief: Depends

The rusty old nail is the classic story of tetanus exposure but that is a myth.
Tetanus spores are present in the environment, with higher concentration in the soils, but no location is always free of possible contamination. Any opening in the skin can allow tetanus spores or other germs to enter. Being up to date with a tetanus booster within 10 yrs is a simple and effective prevention.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
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Dr. Gregory Mosolf
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Usually not

Tetanus comes from dirty wounds.
If the nail went through an old sneaker into your foot then you may get some other nasty bacteria. If you have had 3 doses of the dtap vaccine, the tdap vaccine or the tetanus shot recently (past 10 years) then no chance of tetanus. If the wound or cut has dirt in it then you need another tetanus shot if it has been more than 5 years since your last shot.

In brief: Usually not

Tetanus comes from dirty wounds.
If the nail went through an old sneaker into your foot then you may get some other nasty bacteria. If you have had 3 doses of the dtap vaccine, the tdap vaccine or the tetanus shot recently (past 10 years) then no chance of tetanus. If the wound or cut has dirt in it then you need another tetanus shot if it has been more than 5 years since your last shot.
Dr. Gregory Mosolf
Dr. Gregory Mosolf
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