Joan Adam, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

Flood Response - Tetanus Vaccine

Tetanus and other diseases prevented by vaccines are uncommon in floods and other disasters. Calls for mass vaccination in flood situations can pull needed resources away from cleanup and rescue efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, exposure to flood waters does not increase the risk of tetanus.

While it is always a good idea to make sure immunizations are up to date, there are no special recommendations for tetanus immunizations during flood situations and documentation of vaccination should not be a pre-requisite for flood work.  

  • Adults: need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years

  • Children: need a basic series of 4 shots between 2 months and 18 months of age, and booster shots at 4 to 6 years of age and 11 to 12 years of age

 To avoid injury and prevent infection during flood cleanup, follow these steps: 

  • Wash often with soap and water
  • Wear protective clothing such as hard-soled shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and heavy work gloves
  • Take care of any wounds right away by
    • Washing hands first
    • Cleaning wound with soap and water
    • Patting dry and applying a clean, dry dressing
    • See your doctor to determine if you need a tetanus shot
Share via: