ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As many prepare to clean up what's left of the recent storm that swept through South Georgia, health experts are urging everyone to get tetanus shots, which could be lifesavers.
Without the simple shot, touching soil, contaminated debris or being around flood waters with a cut or open wound, could cause you to lose your life or be infected with a very serious disease.
"Tetanus can be a life-threatening disease. It is a disease that affects the muscles," said Dougherty Co. Health Department General Clinic Supervisor Beverly Reid.
According to Dougherty County Health officials, the life-threatening disease kills one of every 10 people who become infected with the disease, even after getting the best medical care.
"Yes, tetanus does kill," said Reed.
Because of the severity of the disease, health officials are encouraging everyone who plans to clean up outdoors after the storm to get the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine.
"Anyone who's out in the community helping with clean-up, they should be aware of any debris that they come in contact with," said Reid.
Contact with fallen trees and glass can cause symptoms like tightening of muscles, broken bones or death.
"Last storm season and this storm season, it is so important for people to understand to be cautious. Have an emergency plan," said Reid.
That plan should include making sure you have all your shots updated within the last 10 years before the next storm hits.
"Safety first. If you're out there helping the community on a cleanup crew, whatever the case may be, make sure you have your safety gear," said Reid.
A pair of steel-toed boots, gloves and the Td shot could save you a lifetime of health problems and the cost of a funeral.
"There's no reason for a parent, an adult not to come and get a vaccine, they're life-saving, they're life-giving," said Reid.
Health officials said, if you're uninsured or underinsured, the Td vaccine is free, or you could get it at a limited cost at your local health department.