How To Make Your Flu Shot A Better Experience

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If you could make a list of 100 things you enjoy doing, getting the flu shot would probably not make that list. In fact, it probably would not even make a list of the top 1,000 things you want to do! You're never going to love getting your flu shot, but you don't have to hate the experience, either. Here are some ways to make the experience of getting your flu shot just a little bit better.

Schedule your shot for the morning

If you plan on getting your shot somewhere that you need an appointment, schedule that appointment for first thing in the morning. There are a few reasons for this. First, you won't have to spend all day getting more and more nervous about the shot. Second, rather than going to bed soon after your shot, you'll be up and moving around all day, which will keep your arm muscle loose and help reduce the amount of soreness and tightness you experience.

Research the good that the flu shot does on a community level

The flu shot helps keep you from getting the flu, and that's a definite benefit. But the flu shot also helps keep you from spreading the flu, which may be even more important. When enough people get vaccinated, it helps protect more vulnerable people like the elderly and babies. Spend a little time reading about all of the good the flu shot does for the community, and you'll walk into your shot appointment feeling excited to contribute to this good. The CDC website is a good resource for this information. Your local health department's website probably has good info too.

Take ibuprofen before your shot

If you can safely take ibuprofen, take a dose about 30 to 60 minutes before your flu shot. It will help keep your muscle from getting so sore and tight afterward, and it may also minimize other possible side effects of the flu shot, like fever and nasal congestion. Note that these side effects do not mean you're getting the flu from the flu shot; that's impossible. They are a normal sign that your body is building immunity to the flu, thanks to the shot. That does not mean the side effects are pleasant, though, and ibuprofen can keep them at bay.

If you follow the tips above, getting your flu shot won't be a bad experience at all! Take a deep breath, relax, and take comfort in the idea that you're doing the best thing for your health and for the community's health.