Can Kitchen Knife Cuts Cause Tetanus (Question Answered)

One of the reasons why you should avoid cuts of any kind is to reduce the chances of cases like tetanus.

When handling kitchen knives, I have a series of safety practices and procedures that I recommend so that you never get cut.

Accidents happen though and a cut or nick might happen one time. That leaves you to wonder if kitchen knives can cause tetanus when such cuts occur, and whether to worry or not.

Kitchen knife cuts are not usually too deep to cause a tetanus concern. Keeping your kitchen knives clean before and after each use clears them of bacteria which could have contributed to the development of tetanus in the first place. If using dirty knives results in a deep cut, you should see your doctor.

Do you need a tetanus shot if you cut yourself with a knife?

As long as there is a break in the skin, there is also a chance of getting a tetanus infection.

Left untreated for long, tetanus can be a fatal condition, which is what you and I are trying to prevent here.

Should you cut yourself with a knife, here are some of the things to consider before going for a shot:

  • Blade cleanliness – was the knife blade clean when it cut you? Most tetanus cases arise from cuts that are a result of dirty objects. After all, such dirty objects have a higher chance of harboring bacteria on them.
  • Cut depth – tetanus infections are common with deeper cuts than those occurring near the surface. That is because the bacteria causing this infection breeds better in areas where oxygen is cut off. With a deep cut, you should consider getting another tetanus shot.
  • Last shot – when did you get your last tetanus shot? If it has been 5 – 10 years before your current cut, I believe you should go in to get checked.
  • Ever vaccinated? – there are only a few people who might not have gotten the initial series of tetanus vaccinations while growing up. If you know you missed them, please, go see your doctor after a cut.

Those considerations above will provide a better guide to knowing when you need to go in for another shot.

Can you get tetanus from a rusty knife?

A rusty knife is, at the end of the day, a knife too.

You can get tetanus from a dirty, rusty knife if it cuts too deep and the wound is not properly cleaned. A rusty knife is also prone to carrying more bacteria on the surface as it is already prone to corrosion of the stainless steel material.

Finally, if your last tetanus shot was between 5 – 10 years ago, there is a chance of getting infected with tetanus when cut with a rusty knife.

Go see your doctor as soon as you can and give them all the information they will need, such as:

  • What caused the cut;
  • How clean the rusty knife was;
  • When your last tetanus shot was; and
  • Whether or not you’ve been vaccinated in the past, among other things.

Likewise, don’t forget to learn how to remove rust from your knives by yourself.

Whether kitchen knives or industrial knives, I describe more than nine (9) unique methods to eliminate the rust effectively, and at varying levels of corrosion also.

What should you do when you get cut with a knife?

If you keep your knives sharp and use them safely, most cuts won’t be that deep.

When one occurs, do these:

  • Let the wound bleed out for a few minutes. This gets rid of any contaminants that might have accompanied the cut
  • Place the cut area under a running tap for about 5 – 10 minutes. If you can condition your water to warm, that would be better.
  • Douse/ clean the affected area with a recommended cleaning agent. This could be hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or some methylated spirit.
  • Allow the cleaning agent about 2-3 minutes to work and kill any bacteria that might have gathered on/ around the wound, then put a small bandage around it.
  • You’re good to go.

For deeper cuts, apply some first aid at home and go to the nearest emergency center. They are best equipped to gauge the kind of cut, what caused it and give you expert advice.


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