why does a flu shot hurt your arm
Why the arm and not the butt? Why indeed. If youвre a millennial (or younger), you probably donвt remember getting shots in the buttocks. Doctors used to prick people in the bums because, jiggly as it might be, your gluteus maximus is a very large muscle. It's essentially just a big needle target. But we donвt really give vaccines in the tush anymore, and itвs because of three main issues. One is just convenience. Lots of people get flu shots in fairly public spaces, whether it be the nursesв station at a doctorвs office or the waiting area of a pharmacy. Having to pull your pants down would require a more private place (or a more daring patient). If you can just roll up your sleeve, the whole thing is much easier to pull off in your local Walgreens. Another, larger issue is that butts tend to have fat.
included, donвt work nearly as well when injected into fatty tissue. The immune system reacts differently to antigens that are presented in the muscle as opposed to just under the skin, so if a shot is designed to go in muscle, it really needs to get there. Your acquired immunity probably wonвt be as great if the antigens end up in your butt fat, though certain vaccines (like live MMR and varicella) actually perform better in fat. Those shots go in the fat pad covering your triceps. The sciatic nerve also poses a problem when it comes to poking the posterior. When the big nerve that runs down your lower back and into your bottom is irritated, it causes sometimes debilitating pain known as sciatica. If you inject something into a patientвs bum, you run the risk of accidentally hitting the sciatic nerve.
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! 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. 4. ) Try cold and warm compresses. Ice the area after the flu shot to reduce any swelling. After one or two days, try a warm compress to help relax the muscle and get the blood flow moving. 5. ) Consider an alternative vaccine.
There are options! We also offer a nasal spray vaccine, which is available for healthy, non-pregnant individuals between the ages of 2 and 49. It's great for people who are afraid of needles or children that can't sit still for a shot. Why is my arm sore after the flu shot? Soreness in your arm after getting a flu vaccine typically lasts no longer than one or two days. The pain and inflammation is your body's natural response to a foreign invader. It's a sign that your immune system is making antibodies, which is what offers you the protection from getting the actual virus. If you experience pain that lasts longer than three days, you should call your doctor. Do you typically experience arm soreness or other side effects after your flu shot? Tell us in the comments!
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