Why Give Shots In The Arm
While the gluteus maximus in your butt is a very large muscle, there are some advantages to targeting the deltoid muscle in your shoulder.
First, the deltoid has less fat surrounding it than the gluteus maximus. Most vaccinesincluding the flu shotdont work as well when they are injected into fatty tissue. Second, your sciatic nerve runs down your lower back and into your bottom. A health care provider would risk irritating that nerveand causing you debilitating pain called sciaticaif they administered a flu shot to your butt.
Third, its more convenient to administer a flu shot to a bare shoulder than to a bare butt.
Why Is The Shot Given In Your Arm
Muscle tissue, like that found in your arm, has a high concentration of blood vessels. This allows the cells of your immune system to effectively access and process the contents of the vaccine.
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine gives the best protection against flu.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there’s still a chance you might get flu.
If you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and not last as long.
Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.
It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.
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Concerns About Side Effects
If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent, or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childs condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
Immunisation side effects may be reported to the SAEFVAC, the central reporting service in Victoria on 1300 882 924 .
You can discuss how to report problems in other states or territories with your immunisation provider.
The symptoms of COVID-19 and flu can be similar.
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, contact the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 or your GP to check if you require COVID-19 testing.
Have You Received A Recent Vaccination To Keep Yourself Healthy Only To Feel Pain In Your Arm Or Shoulder
Like any medication, a vaccine can have side effects.
Some people do experience soreness or tenderness in their arm or shoulder near the injection site. Mild soreness at the injection site is considered a routine reaction to many vaccines. The soreness often goes away without further problems.
In rare instances, however, a vaccination can result in severe and longer-lasting shoulder pain and bursitis after vaccination. The pain can be accompanied by weakness and difficulty moving the affected arm. This kind of severe reaction is referred to as Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA.
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Side Effects Of The Coronavirus Vaccination
Most of these are mild and short term. They may include:
- having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
- headache or muscle ache
- feeling tired
- fever .
You may also have flu-like symptoms with episodes of shivering and shaking for a day or two.
These common side effects are much less serious than developing coronavirus or complications associated with coronavirus and they usually go away within a few days.
If you feel uncomfortable, you can rest and take paracetamol. Make sure you take paracetamol as directed on the label or leaflet. Remember, do not take medicines that contain aspirin if you are under 16 years of age.
An uncommon side effect is swollen glands in the armpit or neck, on the same side as the arm where you had the vaccine. This can last for around 10 days, but if it lasts longer see your doctor.
If you are due for breast screening then you should mention that you have had the vaccine when you attend.
These side effects normally last less than a week. If your side effects seem to get worse or if you are concerned, phone NHS 24 free on 111. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination so that they can assess you properly.
A Nurse Suffered Long Lasting Shoulder Pain:
Pharmacists are not the only ones who may have a problem.
We also heard from a nurse:
As a nurse, I am required to get the flu vaccine. I did so this year in September at my local drugstore. I started experiencing pain the next day, and now, approximately a month later, I have limited range of motion above my head, a constant pain throughout the day and if I roll over on my left side at night, the pain wakes me up.
I reported this to my physician four days ago. He said, Its probably a pinched nerve in your neck.
When I mentioned the possibility of an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine or the technique, he immediately dismissed the idea. This is NOT a normal reaction to the flu vaccine. Id like to get the word out to the public, especially physicians.
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First Why Does The Flu Vaccine Cause A Sore Arm
There are actually a few different things that can lead to you having a little arm soreness after your flu shot, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Health. For starters, the flu shot is an intramuscular vaccine, which means that it’s injected directly into a muscle in your arm.
“You just had puncture in your skin and muscle,” Dr. Adalja says. “That’s going to hurt and there will be some inflammation that occurs post-trauma to that muscle and skin.”
At the same time, there’s a localized immune response happening in your arm where the vaccine was injected, William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Health. Meaning, your immune system jumps into action to react to the vaccine where it was injectedin your arm. “Your immune system is really starting to take advantage of that vaccine and working on it,” Dr. Schaffner says.
Add those two factors together and you can end up with a sore arm.
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What Is The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Medical appointments, treatments, medications, therapies, and other modalities associated with SIRVA can be expensive. Add other costly outcomes, such as lost wages and productivity due to prolonged pain and disability, and costs increase.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a federal no-fault compensation program that was created, in part, to compensate individuals who suffer vaccine-related injuries. The NVICP draws on funds from the National Vaccine Injury Trust Fund to provide compensation for those who have been injured by a vaccine.
Petitioning for compensation through the NVICP is a legal process.
If you think that you has suffered a vaccine injury, contact our knowledgeable team at Conway Homer P.C. for expert legal assessment, help and representation.
We have specialized in vaccine injury litigation for over 25 years.
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Managing Side Effects After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required. There are several treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:
- Drinking extra fluids and not overdressing if there is a fever.
- Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if pain and fever are present, paracetamol can be given check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist .
Where To Get The Flu Vaccine
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you do not have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery, you do not have to tell the surgery. This will be done for you.
It’s important to go to your vaccination appointments unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.
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Waiting Time After Your Coronavirus Vaccination
Due to the Omicron variant, the adult booster programme is being rolled out faster.
Given the very low rate of serious allergic reactions , the 15-minute wait has been reduced to 5 minutes, as long as you feel okay. This change has been advised by the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers. It’s also supported by the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation .
Make sure you tell the vaccination staff if you:
- have a history of allergies, particularly to other vaccines
- if you had an immediate reaction after your previous doses
- if you have previously fainted following vaccination
In these circumstances, you may be advised to stay for 15 minutes. A family history of allergies is not a risk factor.
You must not drive for 15 minutes after the vaccine because of the risk of fainting.
If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, call out for help and/or phone 999 immediately . Symptoms usually happen within 15 minutes of vaccination.
You should look out for the following allergic symptoms:
- persistent cough
- swollen tongue causing difficulty swallowing
- difficult or noisy breathing
- feeling lightheaded or prolonged faint
- clammy skin
More information is available in the Waiting after the coronavirus vaccination leaflet.
Why Does Your Arm Hurt After A Flu Shot Here’s How Experts Explain It
It’s not only because someone just jabbed it with a needle.
Getting your annual flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your loved ones against an unavoidable flu season. For the most part, that flu shot comes with only minor side effectsfatigue, headache or muscle aches, a mild feverand they’re much more manageable than getting the flu itself.
Another side effect from the flu vaccinearguably the most common oneis pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given. On the surface, it makes sense: Of course you’ll have arm pain if you get a flu shot in your arm. But is your arm really supposed to be that sore after a tiny needle delivers the vaccine?
Turns out, there’s a little more to that localized arm pain, according to experts. Here’s why it tends to happen, and what you can do to lessen the discomfort, both before and after the jab.
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How Much It Hurts May Depend On How The Shot Was Administered
Slow injections may cause more pain, according to research published in the journal Vaccine. Researchers compared pain measurements in slow versus fast injections among infants and found that a faster shot reduced injection-induced pain when it came to certain vaccines, including the flu shot. A slower injection time means more time for the needle to be in contact with the skin, which could lead to the needle moving around more or even potentially cause muscle tissue damage, both of which make you feel sorer.
While you cant exactly predict the style of the person giving you the shot, try stroking or applying gentle pressure to the skin near the injection site during the shot, said Michael Grosso, chief medical officer at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. Just give the nurse or pharmacist a heads up if you want to do this step before they get started. They may opt to do it for you so that you dont accidentally get pricked.
I Got A Pneumonia Shot And Then The Pain Began
Last December during a routine physical exam, I received a vaccination to protect against several strains of pneumonia. It hurt, more so than the usual injection. In the days that followed, the pain in my left shoulder worsened. Initially, I dismissed it as typical post-shot soreness. But it didnt go away.
All these months later, it still hurts. My orthopedist says I have subacromial bursitis, which is chronic inflammation and excess fluid buildup in the bursa separating the acromion bone at the top of the shoulder from the rotator cuff.
Im convinced this occurred because the nurse injected the vaccine too high on my arm. I had no symptoms before the shot, and pain has persisted since. The needle probably entered the top third of the deltoid muscle which forms the rounded contours of the shoulder and probably went into the bursa or the rotator cuff, instead of lower down, into the middle part of the muscle, missing the bursa and rotator cuff entirely. I say probably because I wasnt watching. Like many, I avert my eyes at the sight of an approaching needle.
Symptoms from such mishaps known as SIRVA, for shoulder injury related to vaccine administration include chronic pain, limited range of motion, nerve damage, frozen shoulder and rotator cuff tear.
A third of the patients needed surgery, some of them twice.
There is no single way to treat shoulder injuries, regardless of how they occur. Treatments that work for some may not work for others.
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How Long Do Vaccinations Last
The list below outlines the usual duration of protection once the vaccination course is complete. For some vaccines, the duration of protection is uncertain.
- Chickenpox long-term
- Cholera – up to 2 years
- Diphtheria – 10 years
- Flu vaccine – up to 1 year
- Hepatitis A – Probable lifetime protection
- Hepatitis B – Lifetime
- Japanese B Encephalitis – 2 years to , depending on the vaccine used
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella – Life time
- Meningitis – new conjugate vaccines give up to 5 years protection
- Pneumonia – > 5 years, probably life time
- Polio booster – Life time
- Rabies – Immune memory persists for life booster doses needed only
- Tetanus – 5-10 years
How Can A Vaccine Injection Cause A Shoulder Injury
Research and case studies suggest that SIRVA is caused by improper administration of the vaccine, rather than the vaccine components. It is recommended that injections be administered into the deltoid muscle in the upper arm for adults. However, even trained medical professionals can misjudge the placement of an injection, placing it too high or too deep, outside of the recommended injection site.
A shoulders musculoskeletal structures includes tendons, ligaments, bone and bursa fluid-filled sacs that provide lubrication to the joint. Improper injection into the shoulder can cause inflammation and swelling, scarring, or other damage. The resulting conditions fall in the category of SIRVA.
SIRVA does not refer to one single medical diagnosis, but refers to a broader category of shoulder injuries and conditions. Some of the shoulder conditions included in the SIRVA category are:
- Adhesive Capsulitis
These injuries are generally characterized by pain and limitation of movement. For example, people suffering from Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as Frozen Shoulder, experience pain and a progressive loss of range of motion, making it difficult or impossible to raise their arm above a certain level. The shoulder seems frozen, unable to move beyond a specific point.
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More Stories Of Shoulder Pain From Flu Shots:
We are not totally convinced that every story of long lasting shoulder pain is due to bad technique. The newer, more potent vaccines may also have something to do with it. Here are a few more reader stories:
This comes from Sally:
My shoulder hurt right after the shot was given. The shot itself hurt to the point I was about to yell out a big ole OWW Thats Enough!
The pain has moved from the front of my shoulder to covering the whole top of it, to the tip of my deltoid! The pain moves to a different place every day! Its so creepy. I cant rake the yard or sweep a floor unless I want to be in 100% complete agony for two days afterward.
If I get on the treadmill at the gym or do any exercise at all, it sets it off so bad that I feel like I am giving birth to an alien species through my arm! I have had an X-ray, MRI and I am now on my way to physical therapy. Everyone is stumped.
I just want to be able to drive myself around, pull up the blankets on my bed with my left arm without searing pain like I just ripped my arm open. I want the mysterious strange worm-like jolts to stop. I swear some days it feels like there is something crawling or wiggling around in there. Getting the flu for two weeks is far better than the six months of pure hell I am going through!
Here is Sharons story:
Who Should Not Have The Flu Vaccine
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
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