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Can You Get Tetanus From a Chain Link Fence?

Can You Get Tetanus From a Chain Link Fence

It is a common belief that you can get tetanus from touching something metal that has rusted. This is true, to an extent. But, can you get tetanus from a chain link fence?

It depends. In most cases, no. Contrary to popular belief, tetanus doesn’t come from rust. It comes from a bacteria spore. This spore is (mostly) in the soil. If the chain link fence is close to the soil, then you may get tetanus. If you have cut yourself lower down on the fence, then it may be worth getting a tetanus shot.

Let’s explain a bit more, shall we?

What Is Tetanus and How Is It Contracted?

Tetanus is a serious disease of the nervous system caused by a toxin-producing bacterium. It happens when a bacteria called Clostridium tetani gets into your blood. This will normally be through an open wound. 

The bacteria is found in feces and in soil. While there could be some bacteria just floating around that could impact you, the chances of that happening are quite unlikely.

In almost all cases, you would need to penetrate your skin with something that contains the bacteria. 

The Risk of Tetanus From a Chain Link Fence

Pretty low, even if the fence is rusty. Although, as we said at the start, it is going to be dependent on what part of your skin is impacted by the chain link fence.

If you have broken the skin pretty low down on a fence i.e. somewhere that soil could be kicked up, then there is a chance that you could get tetanus from it.

The further you get up the fence, the lower the risk will be. In fact, it is almost impossible to get tetanus if your skin is broken by the top of the chain link fence.

That being said, the risk of getting tetanus is pretty low overall. However, it is always advised to get a tetanus shot no matter where you have been punctured. This is assuming that you haven’t received a shot at least once in the last 10 years,. 

Factors That Influence the Risk of Tetanus From a Fence

As we said, the main factor will be how low down on the fence you have cut yourself.

While there could be dust just floating around that could sit on the top of the fence and cause tetanus, the chances of this are pretty slim.

If you cut yourself low down on the fence, then the risk is much higher.

The risk is going to be much, much higher if you have cut yourself on a fence that is very dirty. If the fence is cleaned regularly (it doesn’t need to be completely disinfected), the risk will go all the way down.

If there is rust on the fence, then the risk of dealing with tetanus will be even higher. However, do bear in mind that tetanus is not caused by rust. It is caused by bacteria. While not advised, you could cut yourself numerous times on a piece of rusty metal and, if there is no tetanus-causing bacteria there, you won’t suffer from a tetanus infection. 

Preventing Tetanus Infection From a Chain Link Fence

For starters, make sure that you get a tetanus shot at least once every 10 years. If you do that, then your risk of getting tetanus is minimal.

We wouldn’t go out of our way to try and get tetanus, but the risk will be small. This means that you don’t really have to worry about the condition of your chainlink fence. You should be fine.

Of course, you can try and keep the chainlink fence clean. If there is dust on the fence, then the risk of tetanus will start to climb.

You can also paint the chain link fence which should help to keep the rust at bay. Although, do bear in mind that it is not going to do a brilliant job at it. We are assuming that the chain link fence is outside which means, eventually, rust is going to appear.

If rust does appear, then use some sort of rust treatment on it to nullify it. However, once again, bear in mind that this is not going to prevent tetanus. If there is bacteria on the chain link fence, the risk of tetanus is there.

Tetanus Vaccination and Prevention Measures

If you cut yourself on your chainlink fence (or any piece of metal, for that matter) then we suggest that you go and receive a tetanus vaccination.

Most places do this for free due to the dangers of tetanus. Tetanus, when left untreated, can cause a condition caused lockjaw, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Your jaw locks up rather painfully.

Do bear in mind that a tetanus vaccination lasts for about 10-years. So, if you have been vaccinated in the last 10-years, then you should be fine. However, we suggest that you draw the line at about the 8-year mark, just to be on the safe side.

There isn’t much that you can do to prevent tetanus other than this. You should clean the wound to prevent other sorts of infection, however.

Make sure that you keep the wound covered after. This will stop bacteria blowing into it which can cause tetanus, particularly if you come into contact with soil.

We promise you that you should be fine, though.

Final Thoughts

While you can get tetanus from a chainlink fence, the risk of getting tetanus from the fence is low. It doesn’t even rise that much when the fence is rusty.

This is because tetanus isn’t actually caused by rust. It is caused by bacteria, often found in the soil. This is unlikely to come into contact with the fence.

Still, it is worth getting a tetanus vaccination whenever you cut yourself on rusty metal. The vaccination will either be very cheap or free, and this will ensure that you have protection for the next decade or so, which is important. 

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