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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1091
Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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i have just been bitten by a hamster do i need to get a tetanus

Resolved Question:

i have just been bitten by a hamster do i need to get a tetanus shot
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 4 years ago.
Hello JAcustomer,

Id like to help you but I have a few questions to ask first. Is this your pet? Is this animal exposed to other animals, outside? When was your last tetanus booster shot, if you recall?

I just saw your added information: are you 12? Just Answer is for those over 18 years old only.

Thanks for clarifying,
Sincerely,
Susan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
my mom is right next to me
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 4 years ago.
Hello JACustomer,

OK...I am presuming then your mom is OK with this question. I do need to know when your last tetanus shot was, and about the hamster...was it your pet? Does it go outside and have contact with other animals? How bad was the bite? Did it break the skin? Bleed allot? How big was the injury? Ive been bitten by hamsters before, I know it can hurt and about how big it is, but I need to hear from you about what you experienced.

Thanks for clarifying,
Sincerely,
Susan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
it did break the skin and it bled a bit not much it left a little mark
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 4 years ago.
Hello JAcustomer,

Tetanus is a germ thats carried in dirt; normally people get it by stepping on rusty nails or an unclean cut...though animals have been known to carry it as well.

Your son is 12. He should have had his tetanus booster already as part of his normal immunizations, and so not need an extra one now. However, I don't know if he is on schedule for this or not. Some people would not even think about giving a tetanus booster for a hamster bite, but I think its probably better to be safer rather than sorry and speak to your sons doctor about this.

Normally, tetanus boosters come every 10 years, but, if there is exposure outside a 5 year time frame (say, on Year 6) a shot is given.

I liked that you cleaned it with alcohol...keep it clean, and dry. If you note it becoming infected...very red, very swollen, warm to the touch, a red streak, pus drainage, do take him to the doctor for antibiotics.

Here is some more information on animal bites: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/childhood-illnesses/bites-human-animal

I hope I was able to help,
Sincerely,
Susan
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