Aside from posting on my blog, I work as a nurse and the time of year has quickly come upon us for flu season. For the next couple of months about every patient who comes into the hospital will get a flu shot. I will be giving tons of shots in the next couple of months. This last weekend, it was time for all the nurses and employees to get their flu shots. I get one every year. It is hilarious how scared nurses are to actually receive a shot. We seem to have no problem inflicting pain and giving others their shots, but when they start rolling the cart around from floor to floor to give nurses their shots we all seem to disappear into our patient's rooms.
Every year when I talk to patients about getting their flu shot the first thing they ask is, "Is it going to hurt?" I always respond with the same answer, "A little, your arm will be sore for about a day but it will not be too bad." The second thing they ask is, "Will I get sick?" I have routine answer for that. "No, it's a killed virus, so you will not get sick."
After receiving my shot, I realized I have been quite a misleading nurse. I forgot how sore the flu shot makes your arm. My arm ached so bad. The next two nights I was not able to sleep on my right side, like I usually do, because of the pressure it put on my arm. When I went to lift weights at the gym the next day, my right arm was weak and could not lift as much as usual. Four days later my arm finally feels better. I am not telling you this to scare you away from getting your flu shot, rather to clear my conscious for all those poor patients I've fibbed to (Sorry to any recent recipients of the flu shot who are reading this and saying, "My nurse told me it wouldn't be too bad!).
As a health care professional, would I suggest getting your flu shot?
Yes, but you have to make that decision on your own. There are some people who should not get the vaccine.
Will it hurt?
Yes, but the more you use your arm the quicker the soreness will subside because the vaccine will absorb faster.
Will it make you sick?
It shouldn't, but whenever you are putting something foreign in your body you are calling your immune system into action and you risk getting some mild flu like symptoms. You can get an intranasal flu shot which is where you inhale the vaccine, but you are more likely to get sick because that is a live virus you are putting into your body.