Planning a flu or COVID-19 vaccination? Here’s how to help it go smoothly

Vaccinations provide protection against infection and severe illness, but they can bring with them some small and temporary—but bothersome—side effects.

Soreness at the injection site, redness, and even slight fever are all normal side effects to vaccines like the flu or COVID-19.

But, if you want to minimize your chances of a side effect, keep these guidelines in mind.

Relax your arm

While it’s easier said than done, staying relaxed while receiving your vaccination can help. When you tense up, the injection can result in more inflammation and discomfort.

Try to focus your attention elsewhere and be sure to avoid looking at the needle (since anticipation can result in involuntarily tensing of the muscle).

Plan and prepare

Employees and volunteers can get their flu vaccination—and updated COVID-19 booster—from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by visiting the University Employee Health Clinic.

If possible, try to receive your vaccination on a date when your schedule isn’t too full or doesn’t involve strenuous activities.

Stay hydrated

In general, staying hydrated is good for your overall health and well-being. While being “overly” hydrated may not have any impact on the side effects of a vaccination, being dehydrated does increase your risk of feeling ill, on top of any possible vaccine side effects.

Apply ice and compression

One simple way to relieve the inflammation that causes discomfort is by icing the area. Doing this for short intervals throughout the day can help reduce swelling and soreness and lessen recovery time.

Stretch

While you should avoid any strenuous exercise immediately after receiving a vaccination, it can be helpful to perform small movements.

Focus on stretching your arm to keep it active and increase blood flow.

Looking for more information on the flu vaccination? Visit the landing page on The Loop.