Friday, September 29, 2023

What To Do If Arm Hurts After Flu Shot

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Sore Arm After Vaccine Thats Normal

Why does your arm hurt after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects after receiving a vaccination are normal and arent necessarily cause for concern. Mild injection site pain and irritation are common after receiving many vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, about 65% to 82% of people will have injection site pain with the COVID vaccine, and more specifically, if youve gotten the Moderna shot.

The COVID vaccine, along with many vaccines in general, can cause common side effects to occur such as:

  • Redness or soreness at the site of injection
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache

Arm pain is likely to begin within 24 hours of vaccination and lasts a few days after the vaccine is administered, says Grant Anderson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. A sore arm after a COVID shot is the most common side effect, and according to Anderson, only 25% of vaccinated people report experiencing side effects other than arm pain.

Some vaccines can hurt more than others. Along with the COVID vaccine, the shingles vaccine, Shingrix, can cause more and longer-lasting pain than other vaccines. The flu vaccine, on the other hand, usually causes less pain, explains Anderson.

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Booster Jabs: Why Only Some People Experience Side Effects After Their Booster Jab And Others Don’t

The most common side effects, and whether they depend on which vaccine you have

The UK is racing to vaccinate as many adults as possible with a booster dose of the Covid jab, in an attempt to protect the population against the surging Omicron variant.

The NHS says that your booster may be different from the vaccines you had for your first two doses.

Most people will be offered either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, while some may be given a booster dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca.

Possible side effects from vaccinations include a sore arm, tiredness, and headaches report Wales Online.

Find the latest Covid vaccination statistics near you:

And while some may experience more noticeable effects after their jab, others may experience mild ones or none at all.

But why do only some people feel unwell after their jab while others are fine, and does it depend on which vaccine you have?

What are some of the most common side effects?

Side effects from the booster jabs are similar to those from the initial two doses. The most common side effect is a sore arm at the site of infection, while some people report flu-like symptoms after getting their latest dose.

Dr Christopher Johnson is interim head of vaccine preventable disease programme at Public Health Wales.

Dr Johnson told WalesOnline: “The vaccine works by triggering a response in your immune system. It is that response that gives those side effects.

“And you might get a sore arm.”

When Is Arm Pain After A Vaccine A Sign Of Something More Serious

For most people, arm pain after a vaccine is generally mild and a quick-passing problem. But there are some times when you should contact your provider. Keep in mind that these reactions are rare and are not necessarily signs you cannot receive future vaccinations.

If the person giving you a shot inserts the needle too high, you can develop shoulder problems, including nerve pain and limited range of motion. When this happens, arm pain will start within two days of your vaccination, continue longer than what is typical for that vaccine, and will not feel better if you take pain relievers. This issue is preventable, needs to be treated by your provider, and should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System .

While true allergies to vaccines are rare, painful rashes after receiving a shot are more common. It is not unusual for these reactions to happen several days to weeks later. This type of side effect is not always a sign of an allergy, but it could be. If you notice a rash or hives where you received a vaccination, you should be seen by your provider.

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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.”

Youre Having An Immunologic Response

Why your arm hurts after getting a flu shot  and how to ...

Thats Richard Zimmermans five-word answer. Hes a professor of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and director of PittVax, a CDC-funded program that evaluates the effectiveness of flu vaccines. He explains that its not the act of injecting the vaccine that makes you sore the next dayits how your body responds to that injection.

In fact, you should be glad that your arm hurts. That means the vaccine is working.

The flu vaccine works by presenting antigens to your immune system. Antigens are proteins that allow your white blood cells to recognize foreign objects inside your body, like viruses. You build up a natural immunity to viruses once infected, because your body learns to recognize them as dangerousso if they return with a vengence, your immune system is better prepared to fight back. Vaccines take advantage of this by providing very small amounts of antigens so that your white blood cells learn what the flu virus looks like.

This is why vaccination is much less effective if the annual vaccine recipe doesnt match well with the actual flu virus. Youve built up an immunity to the wrong strain.

That inflammation is what causes you pain. Zimmerman says that only about one in five people have this local reaction, though that number varies by vaccine. Its not that those other four dont become immunethey just dont experience inflammation to the point of pain.

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What Can You Do To Limit Your Discomfort

Before the shot:

  • Take three to five deep breaths. This will help relax your muscles, including your deltoid.
  • Distract yourself. Eat some sugary candy or chew gum. This will release feel-good chemicals called endorphins that can reduce your perception of pain.
  • Limit your psychological discomfort. Look away if youre afraid of needles. Tell the health care provider that you dont want to know when he or she is about to deliver the shot.
  • Choose wisely: Ask to get the shot in your non-dominant arm. That way, you wont aggravate the muscle as you do day-to-day activities.
  • Use a pain reliever: Ice your arm for a few minutes and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

After the shot:

  • Apply pressure. Compression can be helpful for reducing inflammation.
  • Use cold and warm compresses. Ice the area to reduce any swelling. After a few days, try a warm compress to relax your deltoid muscle and improve your blood flow.
  • Use a pain reliever. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen if pain develops in the days after you get the shot.
  • Keep moving. Use your arm, dont baby it. You want to get blood flowing to the area.

Getting your annual flu shot can protect you, your loved ones, and those around you from the flu and its complications. You may experience some soreness in the days after getting vaccinated, but the tips weve provided here should help you recover. If you develop more serious complicationssuch as a high fever, wheezing, hives, or weaknesscall your doctor or seek medical attention.

When Should People Get The Flu Vaccine

Flu season runs from October to May. It’s best to get a flu vaccine as early in the season as possible, ideally by the end of October. This gives the body a chance to make antibodies that protect from the flu. But getting a flu vaccine later in the season is better than not getting it at all. Getting a missed flu vaccine late in the season is especially important for people who travel. That’s because the flu can be active around the globe from April to September.

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Good News: A Little Discomfort Is A Good Sign

The flu shot is made to produce an immune response, so soreness is a sign that its working, Nate Favini, the medical lead at Forward, told HuffPost. Your body has an inflammatory response, and thats what gives you immunity against the flu.

This soreness also means that your immune system is making antibodies in response to the virus it was just injected with, which protects you from the actual flu if you become exposed to it. But if you dont feel sore after your flu shot, that doesnt necessarily mean you got a dud injection or that your flu shot isnt working. You may have a higher pain threshold than you realize, or perhaps you were relaxed while getting your shot .

If your arm does really hurt for the next day or two after your flu shot, dont feel guilty about taking a day off of work or going easy on yourself because of the pain. The shot will help your company in the long run: One study found that people who got the flu shotreduced the number of workdays they would have lost due to flu-related illnesses by 32%.

Flu Vaccine For People With Long

Why your arm hurts after getting COVID vaccine

The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:

Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition that is not in one of these groups. They should offer you the flu vaccine if they think you’re at risk of serious problems if you get flu.

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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.

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.

Additionally, a

  • Use cold therapy. Using an ice pack or a cool compress at the injection site can also reduce pain and swelling.
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    What Is Covid Arm

    You may have heard of COVID arm and are concerned it will happen to you. This reaction doesnt happen to many people and usually resolves on its own, even if its not fun to experience. COVID arm is a local reaction by your immune system, meaning it occurs around the injection site. You may experience:

    • A painful and/or itchy rash that can get very large
    • Swelling
    • Warmth
    • A firm bump under your skin where you received your shot

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , COVID arm can start a few days to a week or more after getting your shot. Its not caused by the coronavirus itself, since both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are MRNA vaccines that dont contain the virus.

    According to Phase 3 trial results in the New England Journal of Medicine, this rash affected 0.8% of participants after the first dose, and 0.2% of participants after the second shot. In both cases, a very small number.

    Age can play a role in who has a higher chance of having COVID arm. It seems as if younger patients have more arm pain compared to older patients looking at a study that was done using the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Palli says.

    If you do notice a rash after your first COVID-19 vaccination, inform your healthcare provider before you get the second one. A rash may not be a reason you shouldnt get your second dose. However, your healthcare provider may advise you to get the second injection in your other arm. Other things that can help treat the rash include:

    How Is It Diagnosed

    Why Does My Shingles Vaccine Cost So Much?

    Talk to your doctor if you have bad pain or trouble moving your shoulder after you get vaccinated in the upper arm.

    Theyâll ask you about your symptoms, and they may do a physical exam. They might do tests to rule out other conditions that could bring on similar symptoms, like an infection or a rheumatic disease like arthritis.

    They may also recommend imaging tests like:

    • Ultrasound. This uses sound waves to take a picture inside your body.
    • MRI. This uses a magnet and radio waves to see inside your body.

    They doctor might diagnose you with SIRVA if:

    • Your shoulder felt fine before the vaccine shot.
    • Your symptoms started within a certain number of hours of days afterward.
    • The symptoms are only in the arm and shoulder area where you got jabbed.
    • Tests donât spot signs of another health problem that would explain the symptoms.

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    Add A Comment735 Comments

    A few years ago I received the flu shot. Within a few days I was in severe pain and could not lift my arm. To make a long story short, after an MRI, It showed a tendon was almost completely torn in my shoulder from the injection. It was not the flu shot but an error in the way it was administered. Ive had to have 2 cortisone shots in my shoulder which really helped, but the orthopedic said it really needs surgery. Get an MRI as X-rays and ultra sounds probably wont show the damage. It took 2 months to finally get a diagnosis.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Anon. The general consensus seems to be that it’s the placement of these shots that is causing the issue, not the shot itself .

    I’m curious who administered the shot? A nurse? Did you get the shot at a drugstore/pharmacy?


    In the past, I had always gotten my shots at the CVS Minute Clinic by a nurse, with no problems. The shot that created the problem two years ago was administered by the pharmacist because the Minute Clinic nurse had a long backlog that day. Yes, it’s not the ingredients that cause the problems, it’s when placement of the shot site is wrong. Wish I had known then what I know now.

    Before Getting The Vaccine

  • If you know you normally experience pain and swelling with an injection, take ibuprofen about two hours before you get your shot. Then, continue taking the medication, as directed, for one to two days following the vaccine.
  • Get the shot in your non-dominant arm. So, if youre right-handed, get the flu vaccine in your left arm.
  • Try to relax the arm where you will get the shot. Muscle tension in the arm leads to restricted blood flow, which can make the pain worse.
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    Flu Vaccine And Coronavirus

    Flu vaccination is important because:

    • more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill
    • getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses

    If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.

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