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FEAR of Flu Shot Spreads Faster Than Flu
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FEAR of Flu Shot Spreads Faster Than Flu

If your vaccine reaction isn't bad enough to warrant a doctor's visit, then it probably isn't a true reaction.

Nurse Gail Ingram gives tips to prevent a vaccination “reaction” because reaction stories spread unnecessary fear of flu shots:

Seems like anyone who believes they got sick from a flu shot likes to talk about it.  A lot.  And every flu season is another opportunity to recount the experience.

First, it is impossible to get the flu from a flu shot.  There are some mild side effects and it is possible to have a coincidental cold or flu at the time of a vaccination.  Others can convince or will themselves into having a reaction (called the placebo effect).  However, to be fair, some individuals are hyper-sensitive to their own production of antibodies which can make them feel under the weather.

Here are some tips to minimize the effects of antibody production:

  • Drink extra water before and after the shot
  • Move your arm around after the shot
  • Get extra sleep
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) before, the night of, and morning after the shot
  • Read more tips HERE.

Drinking lots of water before a flu shot and drinking plenty after will help.  Moving the injected arm around at the gym might reduce the length of time you feel symptoms.  Getting extra sleep is helpful, too.  Personally, I take over-the-counter acetaminophen at the time of my shot, the evening of my shot, and again the following morning to prevent a low grade fever, joint pain, or soreness at the injection site.

When I encounter people who boast about their “reaction,” I ask what they did to prevent it.  The answer is always, “nothing.”  I also ask if they were sick enough to return to the doctor and report the incident with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System [VAERS].  After listening to a variety of excuses, the answer is always, “no.”

If you believe you are having a reaction to the flu shot, go back to the clinic and see the nurse.  Yes, this requires an appointment and you will need to be assessed by a professional.  If you are having a true reaction, your case will be registered with VAERS.  Your voice will be heard by the appropriate audience and hopefully you won’t feel the need to frighten others with your experience.

Subjective accounts of a flu shot “reaction” will likely prevent others from getting one.  The fear these stories spread is reckless and puts our herd immunity at risk.  In light of the facts, I ask you to help defuse emotionally charged flu shot stories.  They only serve to scare others and prevent good public health.

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