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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership GRCC
Galveston County
Galveston County Health District
News Release
Sunday, September 03, 2017

Floodwater Exposure Does Not Increase Risk for Tetanus
Tetanus Vaccine Only Needed Every Ten Years

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas - The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) reminds those recovering from Harvey flooding that tetanus vaccinations are only recommended for those who have not received a booster within the past ten years. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says exposure to floodwaters does not increase the risk of tetanus and mass vaccinations are not needed.

“While we understand the concern about tetanus, it’s important to also keep the medical facts in mind,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority. “If you have received a tetanus booster within the past ten years, there is no need for another, even if you came into contact with floodwaters. However, anyone who has not had a tetanus booster within ten years and suffers a puncture wound or cut should seek immediate medical attention.”

Those who has not received a tetanus booster within ten years are encouraged to do so as a matter of routine healthy practices. The vaccine is available at many medical providers and pharmacies.

“What we don’t want is an unnecessary panicked rush for the vaccine, because that is completely unnecessary and detrimental to the recovery from this disaster,” Keiser continued. “An influx of people who don’t need the vaccine getting it could create a shortage for people who actually need it.”

Everyone needs to be practicing proper wound care: Clean all wounds with soap and water, cover open wounds with waterproof bandages and seek immediate medical attention for redness, swelling or drainage.

Harvey recovery health tips are available at

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