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.
How To Avoid A Sore Arm After Your Workplace Flu Shot
Up to 64% of adults and children who receive the flu shot experience pain and/or soreness at the site of the injection, making it the most common side effect of the vaccine. Many patients unpleasantly describe it as feeling like they were “getting punched in the arm,” and we understand that it can be a real discomfort for the one or two days it takes for the soreness to go away. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce or avoid this experience when you attend an on-site flu clinic this year!
We spoke to our Assistant Director of Nursing, Andrea Oster, for her tips and tricks for avoiding arm soreness post-shot:1.) Relax your arm when getting the shot. “It can be hard to do when you’re nervous, but do not tense up,” Andrea says. While you’re sitting, lay your hand flat on your upper leg and relax your shoulder, letting your arm hang until the nurse administers the shot.
2.) Take ibuprofen or Tylenol. A lot of the pain comes from inflammation. Taking a painkiller will do wonders in reducing swelling and assisting with the discomfort.
3.) Use your arm afterwards. “Don’t ‘baby’ it! Work out, write, type and continue your regular routines,” Andrea says. By keeping your arm in motion, you can help the circulation in the injection area return to normal more quickly. If you didn’t use your dominant arm, consider raising it up or moving it in circles to speed along the healing process.
What To Do If You Have Sirva
While your shoulder pain may resolve on its own, it often requires treatment to heal properly. After a SIRVA diagnosis, a doctor may prescribe physical therapy, steroid injections, pain medication, and even surgery. Most patients make a full recovery within a year or two, but some experience permanent symptoms, such as shoulder pain,
Keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about SIRVA, including:
- How does SIRVA happen?
- What are the most common symptoms of SIRVA?
- How do you treat SIRVA? And how long does SIRVA last?
- Is there SIRVA compensation available for victims?
- Should I hire a SIRVA attorney?
If you believe you have a SIRVA injury, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our vaccine injury attorneys.
Our SIRVA lawyers can help you file a petition for compensation in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Call us anytime at to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out the form on this page to get started.
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Why A Little Bit Of Arm Pain Is Necessary Each Year
Even if you received a flu shot in a previous year, you should still protect yourself with a new vaccination this year. This is because the vaccine is developed based on the specific flu strains scientists expect to be the most dangerous this year. Doctors recommend getting vaccinated in fall, but it is never too late to get the flu shot. Getting it late is better than not at all.
Can You Prevent Arm Pain Before Your Flu Vaccine
There aren’t really any good hacks to lower your risk of arm pain ahead of time, Jamie Alan, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology at Michigan State University, tells Health. “You can pre-medicate with something like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but there is some evidence that taking these medications may make vaccinations less effective,” she says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backs this up: In listing out considerations to take before getting your COVID-19 vaccine specifically, the CDC says it’s “not recommended” to take over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen before you get the vaccine to prevent side effects. That’s because “it is not known how these medications might affect how well the vaccine works,” the CDC says.
Basically, without a ton of conclusive evidence on how, if, or why pain relievers may impact vaccine effectiveness, you’ll probably want to err on the side of caution and skip them before your shot .
Another tip: Alan says it’s a good idea to relax your arm “as much as possible” before your shot to keep your muscles from tensing and prevent the needle from having to work a little harder to get in there.
And, while this won’t necessarily change whether you’re sore or not after, it’s generally a good idea to get your vaccine in your non-dominant arm, Dr. Schaffner says. “If you do get a sore arm, it will interfere less with your function,” he says. “You can write more easily and do the usual things.”
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How To Reduce Pain After Vaccination
There are a few things you can do to help relieve arm pain after receiving a vaccine:
Keep your arm moving in the hours following your shot.
Apply a cool compress or ice pack to help reduce swelling and redness. If you use an ice pack, only apply it for 20 minutes at a time with at least a 20-minute break before applying it again.
Experts do not recommend taking pain relievers before receiving a vaccination. Doing this isnt always helpful, and theres concern that it could interfere with your immune systems response to the vaccine.
How To Book Your Appointment
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches. If you cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.
Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.
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Soothe Redness And Inflammation With A Cold Compress And Tylenol
You can also cool the injection site down with a clean washcloth soaked in cold water, according to the CDC.
On Twitter, Dr. Lipi Roy, an internal medicine physician in New York City, suggested an ice pack and over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or ibuprofen since they reduce inflammation.
Use them after your vaccine appointment, unless your doctor has cleared you to take them before, said Roy.
How Long Does Arm Pain Last
For most people, arm pain starts within 24 hours of receiving a vaccination and can last for about a day or two. This experience can vary based on which vaccine you are receiving.
For example, Shingrix tends to cause more intense pain and lasts longer than other shots. Before receiving a vaccination, ask your provider or pharmacist how long arm pain typically lasts for that particular vaccine.
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Do You Have A Vaccine Shoulder Injury
Shoulder Tendonitis after a Flu shot? You’re not alone – it is one of the most common vaccine shoulder injuries eligible for compensation under the VICP.
shoulder pain after a vaccine?
Shoulder Tendonitis from vaccine administration happens often.
View our eBook below for everything you need to know.
What Are The Symptoms
The main signs of SIRVA are serious shoulder pain and less range of motion, meaning trouble with moving your shoulder normally. The symptoms usually show up within 48 hours after you get a vaccine shot in your upper arm. Research also suggests that over-the-counter pain meds donât help the symptoms get better.
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Flu Shot: Side Effects
Many people report avoiding the flu vaccine each year for fear that it will make them sick. Its important to understand that the flu vaccine cant cause you to develop the flu. You arent going to become sick because you received the vaccine.
Flu vaccines contain dead or weakened strains of the flu virus. These strains arent strong enough to cause an illness.
You may experience some side effects from the flu shot. These side effects are often mild and only last a short period of time. The side effects of a shot outweigh the possible symptoms of a flu infection later.
The most common side effects of the flu shot include:
- soreness around the flu shot injection site
- low-grade fever in the days immediately following the injection
- mild aches and stiffness
- low grade temperature
Any side effects that do occur often only last a day or two. Many people wont experience any side effects.
On rare occasions, some people may have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccination. If youve had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or medication before, talk with your doctor first.
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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Are There Any Other Options For The Flu Vaccine Besides Getting A Shot
In addition to the flu shot, a nasal spray vaccine is also available. You may see this vaccine referred to as FluMist or the live attenuated influenza vaccine .
This vaccine is sprayed into your nose. Unlike the flu shot, it contains active influenza viruses. However, these vaccine viruses have been weakened so they wont cause an infection.
Like the flu shot, the nasal spray has some potential side effects. These can be different in adults and children and can include:
The nasal spray vaccine is approved for individuals ages 2 to 49. Its not recommended for certain groups, such as pregnant people and those with a weakened immune system.
If youre interested in receiving the nasal spray vaccine, talk with your doctor about whether its a safe option for you.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Tendonitis From The Flu Shot
The most common symptoms associated with vaccine-induced tendonitis include: an inability to hold your arm in certain positions pain, stiffness or tenderness at the shoulder and loss of strength or motion in the affected arm. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the inflammation. Other complications include interrupted sleep due to pain, limited mobility, severe pain as well as difficulty getting dressed and/or reaching for items overhead.
Recently, My Vaccine Lawyer’s founding partner Paul Brazil was interviewed by Jodie Fleischer of NBC4 Washington about SIRVA injuries such shoulder tendonitis, deltoid bursitis, subacromial bursitis and adhesive capsulitis, along with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a federal compensation program for vaccine-related injuries and allergic reactions in the United States. Paul and Jodie also discuss the frequency of vaccine injuries and the lack of public knowledge about the Vaccine Injury Table.
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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
Shoulder Pain From A Vaccine You May Have Sirva
After a vaccine injection, you may experience arm soreness or stiffness in the shoulder. For most people, the soreness and swelling will only last a day or two and then go away.
Others, however, will suffer severe and debilitating shoulder pain from a vaccine that lasts weeks, months, or even years. It just doesnt go away. Although these cases are rare, they have been recognized by medical communities as Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration .
It can happen when a vaccine is given too high on the arm or is injected too deeply into the shoulder. As a result, the vaccines needle penetrates the shoulder capsule, rather than the deltoid muscle. Inflammation and pain soon follow in the shoulder joint.
The inflammation from SIRVA injuries often damages the shoulder joints ligaments, tendons, bursae, and muscles. They also can manifest as other conditions, including rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendonitis, and frozen shoulder syndrome .
If you have a SIRVA injury, youll experience severe shoulder pain within 48 hours of getting vaccinated. Other common symptoms and signs of SIRVA include reduced range of motion and weakness in the affected arm.
Most people with a vaccine-related shoulder injury have trouble doing everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, doing chores, and doing other projects they used to finish with no problem. If they work in manual labor, patients may not be able to meet their job requirements.
How To Report A Reaction
It is important to report negative reactions to a vaccination. This gives us a better understanding of the safety of vaccines.
You can report vaccine reactions to your state or territory health service.
Alternatively you can report a problem or side effect directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration online or over the phone.
For email, fax and post use the National Adverse Event Following Immunisation reporting form.
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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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.
Why Does The Flu Shot Make Your Arm Sore The Next Day
Heres the simple answer: The flu shot hurts because someone put a needle into your shoulder muscle and inserted fluid. The complete explanation is a bit more complicated, and it has more to do with your bodys response to the shot than with the shot itself.
The discomfort you feel the next day is an inflammation response to an injury , as well as an inflammation response driven by your immune system. The inflammation is a sign that your body is making and delivering antibodies to the injection site.
The flu shot is aimed at muscle because your immune systems response is greater when the vaccine is inserted there. But that means youll feel some pain later when you use that muscle.
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