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5 Tips for a Better Flu Shot

Wednesday, November 07, 2018 7:22 AM

Getting a flu shot brings a big benefit--a boost in protection against dreaded influenza. About two-thirds of adults and children receiving a flu shot, however, report unwelcomed pain or soreness at the site of the injection. John Lin, MD, Internal Medicine, shares some simple steps you can take to avoid that pain or soreness:


Relax. Shots are more painful when a muscle is tense.Until the shot is administered, let your arm hang, or if seated, lay your hand flat on your upper leg.

Make a game plan. Decide which arm will receive the injection. A shot in your dominant arm may mean you notice more soreness, but the extra movement of the arm will help work the vaccine into the muscle faster.

Ease the Pain. A dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation.

Drink up! Make sure to drink water before and following the vaccination. Hydrated muscles aid in quicker recovery and take up the inoculant more efficiently than a dehydrated muscle.

Treat yourself. Sucking or chewing on something sugary during the injection releases endorphins, helping reduce the amount of pain you feel.