October 11, 2007

Flu shot on the rocks please

Cold and flu season is coming and it's that time again, for people to rollup their sleeves and get that all-important shot to protect them. OK that was the news lead that I used in recent outreach announcing that CVS Pharmacy’s are administering flu-shots this season, but yesterday I did in fact get a flu shot myself. My first flu shot.

I read all the literature beforehand in order to find some excuse that would let me back out. I did the same when I used to contemplate giving blood and would then to my glee find out that I couldn't because I visited a foreign country that year that was on the NO list and then there was the year that I got a tattoo, etc. Too bad the reason was never because I was under the weight limit though. Oh well. Anyway, I had no excuse when it came to the flu shot and since I was recently sick it made sense to do something about it this year. Being a fainter though, I was afraid it was going to hurt and then I’d pass out like I’ve done in the past when doctors took my blood or gave me needles. Giving blood though I'd surely faint, I even had to fight the urge when I went to the Red Cross to report on this story of a woman giving her 136th pint of blood, that’s 17 gallons.

But I had no excuse this year, especially since they were giving flu shots at my office, only a couple of feet away from my desk. Although I was still afraid that I’d faint at work. I walked into the designated room and saw a woman about to get pricked with the vaccine, so I entered like Frankenstein, my hands extended, waving my consent form around, grumbling, and all the while looking down at my feet. I was given a lollipop to calm me down. Cherry.

When it was my turn, I told the woman that I've never had a shot before, but she could have cared less. She pulled up my sleeve as I craned my head away as far as my neck would allow me. I felt a moist nap applied to my arm and then a quick pinch. It was nothing. I was fine. I let my heart race back to normal speeds, took a deep breath and walked out tall.

A day later though it now hurts! It feels like my sleeve is digging into the muscle and its sore when I move my arm. It's a little swollen around the target area too, but otherwise it's fine. Weird how it didn't hurt to get the shot, but it hurts a day later.

Disclaimer: Despite common misconceptions, those receiving shots will not have to worry about catching the flu from the shot since the vaccine is created from inactive flu viruses designed to produce antibodies, and these inactive viruses are not contagious. In fact, annual flu shots have been found to be about 75 percent effective in preventing the flu.

Flu treatments are usually a great idea in the long run, but flu shots can be painful if not done right though. Find a good doctor or nurse who can administer them painlessly and you should be fine. As always, if you a medical question about the flu or flu shots, check with your doctor.

2 comments

  1. And it's a good thing your arm hurts, too. It means your body is starting to react to the presence of the flu virus and attack it, so that's a good sort of pain. My first year, it didn't hurt to go in, but hurt a day later; every year after that, it hurts almost immediately, since your body builds up the ability to attack.

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  2. Thanks for the reminder to get mine:) April

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