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South Health District

Free tetanus, hepatitis A vaccines offered in wake of storm

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IRWIN, BEN HILL AND TURNER COUNTY, Ga. – The Irwin, Ben Hill and Turner County Health Departments are offering free tetanus and hepatitis A vaccinations for all responders and volunteers cleaning up debris from Tuesday’s severe weather.

The CDC recommends all responders receive a tetanus booster if they have not been vaccinated for tetanus during the past 10 years.

According to the CDC, “Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. When the bacteria invade the body, they produce a poison (toxin) that causes painful muscle contractions. Another name for tetanus is “lockjaw”. It often causes a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow.”

“It is very important for anyone cleaning up after a storm to be vaccinated against tetanus,” said South Health District’s Nursing and Clinical Director Lisa Thomas, RN, BSN, MSN. “When picking up debris you are at risk of tetanus bacteria getting into even small wounds you may not realize you have.”

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is spread from person to person through contact with the feces (stool) of people who are infected, which can easily happen if someone does not wash his or her hands properly. You can also get hepatitis A from food, water, or objects contaminated with HAV.

The Irwin County Health Department is located at 407 West Fourth Street in Ocilla. For more information you can call the health department at (229)238-9540.

The Ben Hill County Health Department is located at 251 Appomattox Road in Fitzgerald. For more information you can call the health department at (229)426-5288.

The Turner County Health Department is located 745 Hudson Avenue in Ashburn. For more information you can call the health department at (229)238-9595 or (229)238-9596.

All health departments are open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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