How to avoid getting a sore arm after receiving the flu shot?

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When receiving the flu shot, most usually experience a feeling of being punched in the arm. Even though this pain only lasts for 1-2 days, it is a discomfort that can be avoided or reduced. On a yearly basis, many individuals who receive the required flu shot suffer from a sore arm, thus making it as a common side effect. It is important to note that there ways to minimize the discomfort caused by this usual side effect. If you will enroll in a first aid class, you can help ease the discomfort experienced by an individual after a flu shot is given.

Comfort measures

Flu shot-sore arm
By allowing the deltoid muscle to relax prior to the administration of a flu shot, it will be easier for the needle to pierce through.

The individual who is about to receive a flu shot must relax. By allowing the deltoid muscle to relax prior to the administration of a flu shot, it will be easier for the needle to pierce through, thus you have to instruct the individual to let his/her arm hang slackly instead of propping it up and activating the muscle. In addition, it is best that the individual will offer the non-dominant hand so that the soreness will not be as severe in case it will occur. It is also recommended to cool the injection site before, try to distract the individual and apply a warm compress after the flu shot to reduce some of the pain linked with the vaccination.

Pain medications

You can provide acetaminophen after the flu shot has been given to reduce the pain and inflammation linked to the vaccination. The individual should not take a pain medication ahead of time since some of the pain and soreness can indicate that the body is building up an immune response to the vaccination. The medications do not reduce the pain from the flu shot, so it is best to wait after to know if pain medications are indeed needed.


The individual should continue to move the affected arm to help minimize some of the soreness or stiffness that typically occurs after the flu shot. By moving the sore arm, it can help the blood flow and tissues in the injection site to return to normal at a faster rate. This is vital during the first days after the flu shot was given. It is best to elevate the arm or perform arm circles. Just remember not to keep the arm immobile since this will not help at all.

An alternative to the flu shot

Everybody should receive the flu shot yearly except those below 6 months of age, has a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, those who have egg allergy or allergic to one of the components in the vaccine or those who previously had a bad reaction to the flu shot.

Those who are afraid of needles have another alternative. The nasal spray vaccine is readily available for those between 2-49 years old and women who are not pregnant. With this form of the vaccine, it is comprised of a weakened live virus and usually takes about 2 weeks to build up immunity. Depending on the route use, always bear in mind that the minor discomfort linked with the flu shot is better than dealing with the flu itself.

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