One trend I’ve noticed in recent years among non-vaccinating parents is the tendency to allow their children to be immunized for tetanus as the result of a puncture wound or an injury requiring stitches.
Perhaps the emotional upset the parent is experiencing at the time from their child’s injury is what makes them more open to tetanus immunization. A more vulnerable emotional state would certainly open the door to getting the child vaxed even if completely unnecessary.
I don’t think emotional state completely explains the more favorable opinion the public seems to have of the tetanus shot versus other immunizations, however.
Why the tetanus shot is considered in a different class than other vaccinations and somehow less dangerous is something I’ve thought about a lot recently. Why would a non-vaccinating parent allow a tetanus shot especially when there are easy, nontoxic ways to prevent contamination of a wound and the danger of contracting a serious lockjaw infection without a tetanus jab?
I myself suffered a fairly severe and deep cut on my ankle from a freak accident a few years ago but the thought of getting a tetanus shot for the injury never even crossed my mind. I simply soaked my foot and ankle in warm salt water a couple of times a day for about a week to ensure that it stayed clean and contamination free.
The injury healed up nicely and I never exposed myself to the toxins and lingering health problems that can and do result from a tetanus shot.
My extreme disdain for the tetanus shot stems from the health crisis I experienced that lasted for numerous months from a simple tetanus booster during my first year away at college.
I was a college athlete and was told when I landed a spot on my university’s women’s golf team that I was “required” to get a tetanus booster in order to play.
I didn’t know at the time that I could actually opt out of the shot. This option was never discussed with me by the school nurse. She just told me I “had” to get the shot in order to play on the golf team, so like the little college lemming that I was at the time, I rolled up my sleeve and got the shot.
The very next day, I noticed that I could not breathe properly. Deep breathing was impossible due to the shooting pain that shot through my chest each time I tried to take more than the shallowest of breaths.
I figured I had pulled a muscle or something, so I did my best to ignore the problem for a few days, but it didn’t get any better.
I consulted with a doctor about my condition and was told that I had a neuralgia which is irritation, inflammation or damage to a nerve that causes sharp, shooting pain. Each time I tried to take a deep breath, the nerve that was affected in my chest was irritated by the movement causing the severe pain I felt with anything but a very shallow breath.
A neuralgia can take quite awhile to heal and in my case, it took the entire first semester of school until I was able to fully breathe again without severe pain.
Did the tetanus shot cause my neuralgia? I absolutely believe it did. The pain started within hours of when I received the shot and the ingredients in the shot most definitely could have triggered the nerve inflammation and damage that resulted.
The booster I received at that time was the tetanus-diptheria (Td) booster. These shots are given every ten years to “maintain immunity” for children nineteen years of age to adults who are sixty-five years of age.
Ingredients in the Td booster include:
- Aluminum Potassium Sulfate
- Bovine Extract
- Formaldehyde or Formalin
- Thimerosal (at the time of my vaccination, thimerosal was still used although it is now supposedly filtered out)
Which Toxic Vaccine Ingredient Most Likely Caused My Neuralgia?
The thimerosal in the Td booster could have definitely caused a neurological problem because this chemical is 49.6% mercury and mercury is a potent neurotoxin even in the tiniest of amounts.
What about the formaldehyde? Morticians use formaldehyde to embalm people who have died. It is that clear liquid with a very strong smell that burns your eyes and preserves the frogs and other animals in jars that many of us dissected in high school science class.
Besides being classified as a carcinogen by the National Institute of Health, formaldehyde can also trigger nerve damage and chest pains exactly like what I experienced. It is estimated that 10-20% of the population may react acutely like I did when exposed to any amount.
2-Phenoxyethanol, while toxic, is not likely the cause of the neuralgia I experienced as the side effects are:
- Kidney damage
- Cardiac failure
- Kidney failure
Peptone is a soluble, liquid protein nutrient medium for growing bacteria. I wasn’t able to find any side effects from having it injected, but it sure doesn’t sound safe to me.
Aluminum Potassium Sulfate is listed as a current ingredient of the Td booster, but I doubt it was in the one I received years ago as this chemical is the replacement for thimerosal in vaccines but is no less toxic.
The Most Likely Culprit?
After examining each of the toxic ingredients in the tetanus booster I received in college, it is my opinion that the formaldehyde was probably the most likely cause of my breathing problems and months long neuralgia.
While there are no double blind studies to indicate that this common vaccine ingredient may cause respiratory distress and/or neuralgia when injected, I don’t need any. There is plenty of science on the dangers of even breathing carcinogenic formaldehyde fumes (FEMA trailer anyone?) or having it touch the skin let alone having it injected which is no doubt much worse. I know what I experienced and I know that I will never again have a tetanus shot nor will I allow my children to have one.
The tetanus shot is just as bad as all the others – the ingredients are no less toxic and a single booster can be debilitating even for a young, healthy, college athlete like what I experienced at age nineteen.
If your child experiences an injury requiring stitches and a trip to the doctor, be aware that the tetanus shot will be pushed on you. If you are a non-vaccinating parent, don’t be fooled. The tetanus shot is in no way deserving of its “less toxic” and “sometimes useful” reputation.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist