Hello, my name is Gregory. When I was a young lad, I had to enter the health care world in an unexpected way. I developed a serious disease out of the blue that took doctors by surprise. I went through so many different testing procedures before my doctors could diagnose the rare disease. Everyone around me reeled as they tried to understand the purpose and process of the diagnostic tests. I hope to help others understand these important tests better through this website. Please come by often to learn all you need to know about medical diagnostics and working closely with health care professionals.
When it comes to the flu shot, one of the most common things people worry about are the possible side effects. Here's a little reassurance: serious side effects are very rare. However, quite a few recipients of the shot do develop mild side effects, so it is important to know what those side effects are and what you can do to manage them.
Common Side Effects of the Flu Shot
The common, mild side effects of the flu vaccine arise for two reasons. For one, the muscle in your arm has been pierced with a needle, and that does cause some mild discomfort in the days that follow. Muscle soreness, a feeling of heaviness in your arm, and tenderness around the injection site are all normal and expected.
The second cause of the side effects is the immune response that your body mounts in reaction to the contents of the vaccine. No, you're not getting the flu from the flu shot. The vaccine is not made with live viral particles, so that would be impossible. However, for a day or two after getting the flu shot, you might feel like you're getting the flu. This is just because your immune system is reacting to the shot and creating the immune factors that will later protect you from the flu. Fatigue, nasal congestion, and even a mild fever are all common and are no reason to worry. They should pass within two days.
Managing Side Effects of the Flu Shot
There are steps you can take before, during, and after the vaccine to minimize and manage side effects. Before you get the shot, make sure you are well-rested. This will help ensure your immune system can mount its response quickly and properly, hopefully with fewer or shorter-lived side effects. When you're getting the shot, try to keep your arm as relaxed as possible, as this will reduce trauma to the muscle.
After your flu shot, drink plenty of fluids, get some rest, and take a dose of ibuprofen. If your arm does start to feel sore, you can apply a warm compress to the area. Taking a warm, steamy shower can also help counteract the muscle soreness and nasal congestion you may experience.
Side effects are rarely a reason not to get a flu shot, but if you've been plagued by side effects more serious than those above in the past, it's worth having a conversation with your doctor. In most cases, though, the mild side effects experienced are well worth the protection the flu shot offers.
For more information, contact clinics that provide flu shot vaccinations.