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How to Stop Pain From a Tetanus Shot

By Will Guzzardi ; Updated July 27, 2017

Tetanus can seem scary. Its symptoms include muscle spasms, fever, sweating, lockjaw and pneumonia. The good news is that it's become extremely rare. Thanks to the prevalence of tetanus vaccines, only about 50 cases are reported in the United States every year.

Tetanus vaccines have been in use since the mid-1940s. In addition to the vaccination given in early childhood, people are recommended to have a "booster" every 10 years to keep up their immunity to tetanus. These shots, however, can cause prolonged pain at the injection site.

  1. Apply ice to the site of the injection, especially if you noticed swelling.

  2. Consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin or acetaminophen. Follow the pain reliever's instructions, and be sure to take no more than the recommended amount in a 24-hour period.

  3. Be patient—these shots are widely reported to be painful, but the pain usually goes away within a few days. Some, however, have reported it lasting as long as a week.

  4. Consult your doctor if the pain does persist for a long period of time. You may have to go back to the clinic where you received the injection to discuss persistent pain.

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