Protect yourself from tetanus

Your horse isn't the only one who can contract this deadly disease. Make sure to protect yourself with these simple measures.

As someone who spends time working around barns and handling manure, you need to take steps to prevent tetanus in yourself:

• Consult with your physician about keeping your own vaccinations up to date. Around 30 human cases of tetanus are reported each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—mainly among people who either were not vaccinated as children or did not keep up with boosters as an adult. (That number has declined dramatically from around 600 cases per year in the 1940s, after tetanus vaccines were introduced.) The standard vaccine for adults combines protection for both tetanus and diphtheria and a booster is recommended every 10 years.

• Manage even minor wounds carefully. Wash cuts or scrapes with soap and water, and cover them with a bandage before working around the barn. Over-the-counter wound ointments may also be helpful. Talk to your doctor if you sustain even a small puncture wound. 

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