Free Tdap vaccine given in some areas following recent floods

Free Tdap vaccine given in some areas following recent floods

LOUISIANA (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is administering the Tdap vaccine which protects against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, at various locations in Northwest Louisiana. The vaccine is being administered as a precaution for anyone who has been in or near floodwaters.

Here is a list of the clinics we have so far:

Bossier Parish
Bossier Sheriff Substation
2510 Viking Drive
Saturday, June 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 25 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Natchitoches Parish
Friday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office
Office of Community Services
726 Third Street
The vaccine is free of charge
For more information, please call Mary Jones at 318-471-2942

Similar tetanus shot clinics were held in Caddo Parish Tuesday and more clinics are planned over the next few days.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals website, no special immunizations are necessary after exposure to floodwater. The website says experience and studies from previous serious national floods demonstrate that increased risk or incidence of tetanus, typhoid fever or hepatitis A has not occurred.

It goes on to say recommendations for these immunizations are the same as during non-flood conditions.

The tetanus vaccine is a booster for tetanus and should be given to anyone sustaining an injury, particularly lacerations and puncture wounds, that has not received a vaccination within the last 10 years, 5 years or particularly major or unclean wounds.

If you have received a Tetanus shot within the last 5 years, and obtain an abrasion while out in areas affected by flooding, Dr. Martha Whyte, Regional Medical Director and Administrator of the Department of Health and Hospitals says you must take care of it immediately.

"If you get an injury, even if it's just a knick, make sure you get it really good and clean with lots of soap and water. If you have an open wound - cover it as much as you can. Because we don't want to see another infection like MRSA, or secondary infections from these injuries," says Dr. Whyte.

Flood water may contain dangerous bacteria from mixing with raw human sewage (particularly in urban areas), but this is unlikely to trigger disease outbreaks. There is no risk from serious infections such as typhoid and cholera in flood water in this state because these diseases are not present in the general population in Louisiana. Although harmful micro-organisms in flood water are very diluted and present a low risk, there are precautions to be aware of.

People are advised to avoid direct contact with the floodwater as a precautionary measure. Children should not be allowed to play in floodwaters. The main risk of disease comes from drinking floodwater.

For more information about what to do after a flood when it comes to your health, click here.

Copyright 2015 KSLA. All rights reserved.