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.”
How Can I Alleviate My Arm Pain
Swelling, redness and soreness are common after the flu shot and can last 24-48 hours. “If you always experience soreness or swelling after a flu vaccination, take an ibuprofen about 2 hours prior to vaccination,” suggests Dr. Mora. “You can also try icing the injection site to reduce redness and swelling and taking another dose of ibuprofen to ease any soreness or swelling.”
Why Does Soreness Last For A Few Days
Your body’s process of reacting to the vaccine can take several days. which is why you may end up having arm soreness for that time, Holmes says. The pain from the inflammation caused by the shot itself also takes time to go away.
Think of inflammation as the pain you get after you hurt your knee or ankle that kind of pain can take a few days to resolve, Valdez say. She also adds that the small injury to your muscle from the needle also takes time to heal. The site of injection is starting block of the immune response. A lot is going on in that one site.
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What About People Who Get A Seasonal Flu Vaccine And Still Get Sick With Flu Symptoms
There are several reasons why someone might get flu symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated against flu.
Exercise Can Prevent Sore Arms
The most commonly cited post-vaccine side effect is soreness in the arm where the vaccine was injected.
Some people have reported a slight soreness similar to after getting the flu shot, while others have said they can’t move their arm due to the pain.
The sensation is a result of immune cells reacting to the vaccine, Dr. Daniel Summers, a pediatrician in Maine, told Insider.
Since the arm is where the vaccine originates, immune cells rush to that area and inflame it, making it look red and feel tender. Moving your arm throughout the day, whether through exercise or shimmying around your living room, can relieve the intensity of arm tenderness.
“By moving the arm, it helps disperse that local area of inflammation faster,” Summers said.
On the flip side, simply massaging the vaccine site with your hand could worsen inflammation and pain.
“It’s not going to have any truly negative effects to rub the vaccine site immediately after you get the shot, but since doing so may disperse the vaccine material into a larger area that will then become inflamed as the immune system responds, you’ll have a larger area that’s sore,” said Summers.
Arm soreness should dissipate one or two days after getting the jab, according to Summers.
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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.
How Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Work
Many people experience pain at the injection site after getting the pneumonia vaccine. The pain you are experiencing is usually soreness of the muscle where the injection was given. Injection site pain and most other common side effects are actually a good sign it indicates that your body is starting to build immunity against pneumococcal diseases.
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While You Cannot Contract The Flu From The Flu Shot Vaccines Like Any Medication Come With The Risk Of Side Effects
Common side effects include: Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given low grade fever muscle aches or toughness/itching at the injection site. These reactions typically present soon after the flu shot and last one to two days.
If you experience a life-threatening allergic reaction, such as breathing problems hoarseness or wheezing hives paleness weakness increased heart rate or dizziness, seek medical attention immediately.
In some cases, symptoms of reaction persist and can develop into long-term illnesses.
So Why Does Sirva Happen
Dr. Donohue explains that doctors and nurses are properly trained in landmarking, or determining where a vaccine should be given in the arm and using the proper needle length. When a needle is injected too deep the deltoid muscle can be penetrated and structures within the shoulder can be damaged such as the rotator cuff or joint capsule, he explains. In very rare cases the axillary or radial nerves in the upper arm could be injured.
According to the 2012 case report, SIRVA is due to an inflammatory effect from vaccine administration into the subdeltoid bursa, or a fluid-filled sac located under the deltoid muscle in the shoulder joint.
A 2018 study published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal, specified that it occurs when an injection is administered too high in the arm, and the vaccine is delivered to the shoulder capsule instead of the deltoid muscle.
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Some People May Need More Than One Influenza Vaccine Each Year
There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the flu vaccine within the space of one year.
- Children less than 9 years receiving their flu vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
- People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time after transplant.
- Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons flu vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
- Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons flu vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.
Please check with your GP, pharmacist, or other immunisation provider to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.
Flu Vaccine Side Effects
Flu vaccines are very safe. All adult flu vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.
Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
- slightly raised temperature
- muscle aches
- sore arm where the needle went in this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over
Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:
- continue to move your arm regularly
- take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it
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What Is Covid Arm
COVID arm, which should be more accurately referred to as “COVID vaccine arm” per Dr. Little, is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to a component of the COVID vaccine. “It is a red, sometimes itchy or tender localized reaction near the vaccine injection site that occurs most frequently about 7 days after the vaccine, though it can occur as late as two weeks post-vaccine,” she explains. It usually lasts around fives days, though sometimes it may last a shorter or longer time, and most reports have been in response to the Moderna COVID vaccine.
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 .
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
Both types of vaccine can cause mild side effects.
- The flu shot usually is given as an injection in the upper arm or thigh . It contains killed flu virus and can’t cause someone to get the flu. But it can cause soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Rarely, it might cause a low fever or body aches.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine contains weakened live flu viruses. So it may cause mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, wheezing, sore throat, vomiting, or tiredness. Like the shot, it can sometimes cause a low fever or body aches.
Sometimes, people faint after getting a shot, especially teens. It helps to sit or lie down for 15 minutes right after a shot to prevent this.
A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help ease soreness, as can moving or using the arm.
Very rarely, the flu vaccine can cause a serious allergic reaction.
When To Get The Influenza Vaccine
Yearly vaccination before the onset of each flu season is recommended. In most parts of Australia, flu season occurs from June to September, with the flu vaccine typically available from April.
Recent evidence suggests optimal protection against the flu occurs within the first 3-4 months following vaccination. It is important to note that, while the influenza virus continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
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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.
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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Do You Have A Question For Dr Ellie
Dr Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases, or give personal replies.
If you have a health concern, always consult your own GP.
The over-use of antibiotics in all areas has contributed to the problems of MRSA and the severe bowel infection C.difficile, so a very thoughtful approach is needed.
It is important that the prescribing GP utilises local guidelines that take into account patterns of resistance.
Generally, an antibiotic would be given for six months. If recurrent cystitis is associated with intercourse, then we know that using a post-coital antibiotic can be just as effective as a long-term course, so this should be given a go.
Much is written about lifestyle changes for recurrent urine infections, but in fact there is no scientific evidence to suggest cranberry juice, dietary changes, certain clothes or timing urination after intercourse can help prevent them.
The majority of cases in the UK are caused by the bacteria E.coli, which lives harmlessly in the gut as part of our natural body flora.
Vaccines would need to target their detrimental effect on the bladder without interfering with their role in the gut a challenge that is still many years away.
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How Does It Happen
SIRVA can happen if a medical worker gives you a vaccine shot too high up on your upper arm. That could accidentally damage tissues or structures in the shoulder.
The right place to give this type of shot is in the middle, thickest part of the deltoid, a large triangular muscle that goes from your upper arm bone to your collarbone.
To prevent SIRVA and give these shots properly, many medical workers are trained to look or feel for specific physical âlandmarksâ on the arm that guide them to the deltoid muscle.
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What Protection Does A Flu Vaccine Provide If I Do Get Sick With Flu
Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick. However, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick:
- A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.
- Another study in 2018 showed that a vaccinated adult who was hospitalized with flu was 59% less likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit than someone who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
In addition, its important to remember that flu vaccine protects against three or four different viruses and multiple viruses usually circulate during any one season. For these reasons, CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older even if vaccine effectiveness against one or more viruses is reduced.
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.
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