That Paper Cut is Not Going to Give You Tetanus |

That Paper Cut is Not Going to Give You Tetanus

admin August 1, 2016

Over the last several weeks (months, really), I have seen two related stories increasingly pop up in my natural health and natural parenting groups.

They go like this:

#1: “I visited the emergency room today because I cut myself pretty deeply with a knife while cooking dinner.  The doctor recommended a tetanus shot.  Should I get one?”


#2: “My kid just got a cat scratch/paper cut/other tiny and non-serious abrasion.  Should I rush him off to the ER to get a tetanus shot?!  How many different essential oils and homeopathics do I need to give him to ensure he doesn’t get tetanus?”

Please, please, please.  Just stop already.

That Paper Cut is Not Going to Give You Tetanus

Look, tetanus is serious, but it’s not lurking around literally every corner, ready to kill you.

Tetanus used to affect a few hundred people per year or fewer than 1 in 100,000.  And today, it kills about 10% of people (who catch it).  That is astronomically high compared to, say, the 1 in 2 million people who die of chicken pox, but it’s not exactly 100% fatal, either.

Tetanus is found in soil, animal feces, and rusty implements.  Chances are if you’ve been cut by something other that’s relatively clean, and you don’t go rub your open wound in feces or soil, you basically can’t catch tetanus.  And even if you do get your wound dirty (say, if you cut yourself while gardening), wash that bad boy and watch for signs of infection.  But if it’s a shallow cut, the chances of tetanus are almost impossible.

On the off chance you do show any signs of tetanus, get thee to an emergency room and get a tetanus immunoglobin (anti-toxin) shot to stop the disease, and follow medical procedure until you are well.  This is most likely on deep puncture wounds that don’t bleed well, and which get dirty in soil or with animal feces (like on farms).  Even then it’s not a certainty, but I would definitely care for such a wound very carefully.

That Paper Cut is Not Going to Give You Tetanus pinterest

Fear Sells

This nonsense about fearing every little cut and scrape is just not realistic.  It’s based on fear, and not on fact.

If your child is running outside, and trips and skins his knee, he does not need a tetanus shot.  You also do not have to rub the skin raw, cleansing it with every antibacterial you have, every hour on the hour, until it is healed.  I have seen some parents nearly describe such things….

I have seen parents flip out about small cuts they didn’t even know their children had…after they are well scabbed over, already healing, and showing no signs of infection.

Please, for the love.  Learn what really is worth worrying about and what is not.  Minor, shallow, everyday wounds are simply not something that should even be on your radar.

Of course, doctors are not helping by suggesting a tetanus shot for basically everything.  Glass sliced your leg open?  Tetanus shot!  Stapled your finger?  Tetanus shot!  Bumped your head on your car door slightly?  Tetanus shot!

(I sincerely hope you do not go to the ER for a slight bump on the head.  A serious one that causes loss of consciousness or vomiting, okay, I get it.  But the bump that causes you to say “ow” and rub it for a minute, please.  Don’t.)

Stop letting doctors scare you.  Not every single tiny cut is going to put you at risk for tetanus.  This is a technique to scare you into just getting the vaccine.  And if you have reasons why you are not getting it, why are you letting people scare you?  Why have you not armed yourself with enough real information that you don’t fall for it?

Get Informed

Please, if you are opting to delay or forego vaccines, get informed.

Learn about each disease.  Research the signs and symptoms, and where each comes from.  Learn the possible complications.  Find out the likelihood of those complications.  Learn how to treat the disease naturally and when to call a doctor for help.

If you know all of that…then you will not be scared when someone tries to give you false and over-the-top information.  Because you’ll know they’re full of it, and it won’t even give you pause.

We have a great series on vaccines (cited from PubMed, CDC Pink Book, and WHO) to get you started.  If you’re still feeling uneasy, read through it today.

Just, please.  Let’s stop giving in to the scare tactics and flipping out about things that are never going to happen.  Because I promise you, that tiny little paper cut?  It won’t give you tetanus.

Do you worry about tetanus a lot?

This is the writings of:



  1. My brother received a tetanus shot (probably TDap, as I’ve heard that’s how they are given these days) in 2009. He developed weakness, later diagnosed with ALS, and died in 2012, 2 1/2 years later.


  2. I had the T shot long ago, they say it last 10 years but I’ve also read that it may actually last 30 years so maybe I am protected, maybe not but I’m not touching vaccines anymore at all.

    A few months ago I crucified by foot with a rusty roofing nail that even touched my bone, it hurt. I bled it good and kept a bandage with raw honey on it for 3 days, honey being a powerful antibiotic as you know. That’s it. The 4th day I did not have a bandage anymore, the bone took a couple months until it was not hurting anymore. The only reason doctors will give you a shot is because “just in case” so they can’t be sued if by miracle the patient was actually infected and the wound was not properly bled out and cleaned.


  3. I’m sorry about your brother, Sue. 🙁


  4. I have a question- you said in the article that you said that doctors want to scare you into getting the vaccine. What benefit do Doctors get from pushing the vaccine on a patient in an emergency department?


  5. So I know that tetanus is naturally present in livestock excrement.My goats and chickens share a shed and today my rooster scratched me at feeding time. I had the shot when I was six, now I am 15. Should I get a shot? I usually don’t bother about these things, but iv nursed a goat kid through tetanus and it was horrible.


  6. What was not included in the article about how tetanus actually manifests.
    Say you DO step on a poop covered nail in a barn. Tetanus requires an ANaerobic environment to produce the ‘spores’ that produce the toxin that causes the illness.
    Anaerobic means lack of oxygen present. What carries oxygen? Blood.
    1. If a deep puncture wound in the right circumstances does NOT bleed you now have an ideal place for tetanus to do its thing. Go to the ER and get the immunoglobulen (antitoxin) shot
    2. If you get cut or punctured and it bleeds well, you have little to worry about. Cleanse the wound well, encourage it to continue bleeding. It will more than likely be just fine.

    Knowledge of HOW a certain disease functions is key.


  7. What about breaks in the skin that fall in between? Like painful hangnails? They don’t bleed, hurt so much but we traditionally don’t cover them. We’re going to the beach tomorrow and my son has a painful hangnail and the sand is bound to irritate it. I just don’t think a bandaid will stay.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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