Taking Advantage of the Home Renovation Tax Credit this summer? Build a tetanus booster into your plans!

         - Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion
    hammers home importance of tetanus immunization before starting gardening
                   and outdoor home improvement projects -

    OTTAWA, May 11 /CNW/ - Planning on getting your hands dirty with
gardening and outdoor renovations this May long weekend? With summer just
around the corner, and the added incentive of the federal Home Renovation Tax
Credit, many Canadians will be heading to their local home and garden centre
this long weekend to get home improvement projects underway. But those who
have not had a tetanus booster in the last 10 years could be putting
themselves at risk of contracting this rare but serious disease through a cut
or puncture while working on their home or garden. The bacteria that cause
tetanus live in soil, dirt and dust, and even a small amount can lead to
illness if you are not protected.
    To help people feel confident and protected this May long weekend or
anytime they are doing gardening and home improvement projects, the Canadian
Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion (CCIAP) is calling on all
Canadians to check their immunization records, and to visit their doctor or
local clinic if they are due for a booster.
    "Although most of us understand the importance of tetanus immunization,
many people still don't realize that a booster dose is needed every 10 years
to keep their protection up," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chair of CCIAP. "Unlike
other vaccine-preventable diseases, tetanus is not passed from
person-to-person. This means every single person needs to be immunized in
order to be protected. The tetanus booster is safe, effective, and free for
all Canadians; so everyone has the opportunity to protect themselves."
    "It's important to be informed, ask questions and keep an immunization
record. Be proactive and ensure you stay protected over the long term," said
Dr. Susan Bowles, Vice Chair of CCIAP. "May is a great time for you to check
your immunization records and to visit your doctor or local public health
clinic if you're due for a booster - especially if you're starting home
renovation projects or doing some gardening. Why wait until you have an injury
to get immunized?"


    Tetanus is an illness caused by a toxin (or poison) made by bacteria that
block normal control of nerve reflexes in the spinal column. The bacteria that
make tetanus toxin are found naturally in soil, animal feces and dust. Home
improvement and gardening tools and equipment may be exposed to tetanus
bacteria if they are used outdoors or stored near other supplies that are used
outdoors. Tetanus bacteria usually enter the body through an open wound in the
skin, such as the kind you can get by cutting yourself on sharp gardening
tools or jagged objects buried in the dirt. Although many people associate
tetanus with a cut from a rusty nail, you can get tetanus from many things
including anything contaminated with even small amounts of animal feces, soil
and dust. A significant portion of tetanus cases are caused by minor injuries
people may not think would cause tetanus - 27 per cent of tetanus cases in
North America occur in people who have not previously reported an injury.


    Canadians should receive a tetanus booster every 10 years. Adults more
than 60 years of age are at increased risk of tetanus infection as they may
not have been immunized against the disease when they were younger, or they
may have simply forgotten to keep their immunization up to date with a booster
every 10 years. If you're not up to date, visit your doctor or local public
health clinic and ask for a free tetanus booster. Immigrants to Canada may
also be at risk, as many would not have received tetanus immunization in their
country of origin. They should check whether they need to receive full
immunization against tetanus.

    To avoid contracting tetanus during home renovations, or in the garden or
other outdoor locations, follow these easy steps:

    1. Ensure that your immunization is up to date
    2. Get a tetanus booster every 10 years at your local public health
       clinic, doctor's office, pharmacy or travel clinic
    3. Wear gloves, protective clothing and footwear while renovating,
       gardening or doing yard work
    4. Be careful when using tools that could cut or puncture your skin
    5. If you are injured, clean wounds thoroughly and immediately with soap
       and warm water


    The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion is a
coalition of 28 national organizations. Its mission is to contribute to the
control, elimination and eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases in Canada
by increasing awareness of the benefits and risks of immunization for all ages
via education, promotion, advocacy and media relations.

For further information:

For further information: please contact your local public health office,
visit the CCIAP web site at www.immunize.ca, which includes an adult
immunization guide, or contact: Laura Grice, MS&L, (416) 847-1319,
Laura.Grice@mslworldwide.com; Liisa Vexler, CCIAP, (613) 725-3769 ext. 151,

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