Vaccine recommendations for flood response

The Louisiana Department of Health is providing the guidance below for individuals concerned about the need for a tetanus vaccine.

People Returning to Flooded or Damaged Areas, Shelter Residents and Recovery Workers (including first responders)

  • Use good personal hygiene.
  • Tetanus/diphtheria (Td Tdap) vaccinations are recommended only if the person has not been vaccinated within the past 10 years.
  • Any person who receives a puncture or deep cut during cleanup should immediately seek medical attention.  As part of the evaluation, the physician will determine if a tetanus booster is indicated.

Health Care Providers/Workers in Medical Special Needs Shelters

People involved in patient care in any setting, including Medical Special Needs Shelters: 

  • Use Standard Precautions
  • Institute and enforce good personal hygiene
  • Follow the recommendations for health care workers that include a tetanus containing vaccination in the last 10 years.

Tetanus is a serious disease the causes painful muscle spasms and can lead to death. The bacteria enter the body through cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects. Working in flood waters and areas that have been flooded can increase the risk for tetanus due to cuts and puncture wounds.

All wounds require immediate cleaning and bandaging. Medical evaluation is recommended. See your health care provider. Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td) booster is recommended for wounds if last vaccination was given more than five years ago.

Those Louisiana residents seeking a tetanus booster can do so by contacting their health care provider or community pharmacy.  Please contact the provider or pharmacy to ensure they are open and offering these services at this time.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.