Why Does Your Arm Hurt After A Flu Shot Here’s How Experts Explain It
It’s not only because someone just jabbed it with a needle.
Getting your annual flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your loved ones against an unavoidable flu season. For the most part, that flu shot comes with only minor side effectsfatigue, headache or muscle aches, a mild feverand they’re much more manageable than getting the flu itself.
Another side effect from the flu vaccinearguably the most common oneis pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given. On the surface, it makes sense: Of course you’ll have arm pain if you get a flu shot in your arm. But is your arm really supposed to be that sore after a tiny needle delivers the vaccine?
Turns out, there’s a little more to that localized arm pain, according to experts. Here’s why it tends to happen, and what you can do to lessen the discomfort, both before and after the jab.
What Types Of Meningococcal Vaccines Are Available
There are two types of meningococcal vaccines on the market:
- Meningococcal conjugate or MenACWY vaccines. The current meningococcal vaccines available are Menactra, Menveo, and MenQuadfi.
- Serogroup B meningococcal or MenB vaccinations. The current MenB vaccines on the market are Bexsero and Trumenba.
Who Should Get the Meningitis Vaccine?
The CDC recommends that all children between the ages of 11 and 12 should get a MenACWY vaccination. They should also receive a meningitis booster shot at age 16.
Other children and adults who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease should also consider getting vaccinated.
Most people should get the meningococcal vaccine. However, there are a few exceptions:
- If you or your child have had a life-threatening allergic reaction or have a severe allergy to the meningococcal vaccine.
- If you or your child are not feeling well on the day of vaccination.
Why The Cdc Recommends Meningococcal Vaccination
Neisseria meningitidis can linger within the nasal cavity without causing disease in some people. Older estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that about 10% of the general population carries the bacteria.
Generally, this bacteria can spread quickly when people are in close contact with one another. Thats especially true in group living situations, or among people who are intimate .
If someone is unprotected from the disease, it can go on to cause extremely severe illness or even death. About 10% to 15% of people with bacterial meningitis die. One in 5 may have permanent disabilities afterward, like hearing issues, brain and kidney damage, or limb amputation.
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Who Shouldn’t Get Vaccinated
According to the CDC, some people should speak to their healthcare provider before receiving a meningococcal vaccine. Specifically, people who have had life-threatening allergic reactions to meningococcal vaccines or their ingredients should not receive it.
Growing evidence suggests that it is safe for pregnant people to receive a MenACWY vaccine. The CDC notes that pregnancy shouldn’t preclude a person from seeking a MenACWY vaccine and that they should contact a healthcare provider for more information.
As for MenB vaccines, the CDC notes that there have been no randomized controlled trials evaluating this vaccine’s safety for pregnant or lactating people. The agency suggests that vaccination can wait until after this period. But if the person is at increased risk of meningococcal disease, a vaccine should still be considered.
What Causes The Immune Reactions
In the case of the authorized COVID-19 vaccinesPfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnsonall contain a genetic blueprint for manufacturing spike proteins, which sit on the surface of the coronavirus and enable it to infect human cells. When human cells receive these instructions, they churn out copies of spike protein. But since the cells make only a piece of the virus, and not the whole pathogen itself, we dont get sick. But while the foreign spike cant cause disease, it can activate a two-step immune responseexactly as it is supposed to do.
The immediate physical reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is caused by the innate immune system. When a person receives a shot, a flurry of white blood cells called macrophages and neutrophils arrive at the injection site and begin producing chemicals called cytokines. This response triggers a wide range of symptoms, from inflammation and swelling at the injection site to fever, fatigue, and chills.
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Can The Meningitis Shot Cause Serious Vaccine Injuries
In very rare cases, someone may suffer a severe injury as a result of a meningococcal vaccine. Their symptoms may last for several months to years.
Throughout this section, we explore serious meningitis vaccine injuries that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has recognized. If your injury is not listed below, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation as well.
The VICP has acknowledged the meningitis vaccine can trigger three conditions: Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration , sudden fainting , and anaphylactic shock. Below, we explore the symptoms associated with these vaccine injuries, as well as what to expect if youre diagnosed with one.
Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration
Any injection, including the meningococcal vaccines, can cause a shoulder injury. SIRVA injuries can happen when a vaccination is given too high, too deeply, or at the wrong angle in the shoulder.
Instead of being administered into the deltoid muscle, the meningitis vaccine is inserted into the shoulder capsule. Inflammation sets in, irritating the surrounding shoulder tendons, ligaments, nerves, and a fluid-filled sac called the bursa.
What are the telltale symptoms of SIRVA you should watch out for? There are four common signs of a shoulder injury following a meningococcal vaccination:
If you have any of the above symptoms of SIRVA following a meningococcal vaccine, please seek treatment as soon as possible.
Meningococcal Acwy Vaccine Side Effects
The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is effective and safe, although all medications can have unwanted side effects.
Side effects from this vaccine are uncommon and are usually mild, but may include:
- localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- occasionally, an injection-site lump that may last many weeks
- low-grade temperature
- children being unsettled, irritable, tearful, or generally unhappy, drowsy and tired.
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My Vaccine Lawyer’s Founding Partner Max Muller
Interviewed by NBC Philadelphia.
Are you learning about vaccine injury for the first time? We understand this information can be overwhelming at first. Not everyone knows that meningitis b vaccine injuries exist but our team has represented thousands of clients just like you. Take a look at our co-founder, Max Muller, speaking to NBC Philadelphia about representing meningitis vaccine injuries in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program .
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You Are Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
- Pregnant women who are at increased risk for serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease may get MenACWY vaccines.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease may get MenB vaccines. However, they should talk with a doctor to decide if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks.
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People Who Should Receive Meningitis Vaccine
Individuals who are at high risk for being affected with meningococcal disease should receive the vaccine, and they include:
- Adults who are more than 60 years old
- College freshmen who live in dormitories
- Children younger than 5 years old
- People who are in the military
- Alcohol dependents
- Ranchers and farmers and ranchers who work with animals
- Workers in a meningococcal laboratory
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
- People who use needles frequently for their condition such as those with diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, or use IV medications
- People with weak immune system such as AIDS patients, and those using immunosuppressant drugs
- People with autoimmune system disorders
- People whose spleens have been removed surgically
- People traveling to sub-Saharan Africa or to Mecca
- People who have been exposed in a meningitis outbreak
It should be noted that people who are 55 years old or younger should receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine . But if it is not available, they may also have the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine . However, those who are older than 55 years should only have the MPSV4, which is the only approved meningococcal vaccine for this age group.
Acwy Vaccination Is Free For Some People
In Victoria, immunisation against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W and Y is available for free as part of the National Immunisation Program schedule for:
- children aged 12 months
- children from 13 months to under 20 years of age, who did not have their meningococcal C vaccine at 12 months
- young people in Year 10 of secondary school
- young people not in secondary school, aged 15 to 19 years.
Young people in the 15 to 19 years age group are more likely to spread the disease to others. One in five people in this age group carry the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. Immunisation experts have advised that immunising this age group can prevent spread to other age groups and protect the wider community.
Eligible young people who are away from school on the day the vaccine was given, or who do not attend secondary school, can attend either a local government community immunisation session, or a general practitioner to receive the free meningococcal ACWY vaccine. The GP may charge a consultation fee.
Contact your local government to find out when and where immunisation sessions are held.
- People with specified medical risk conditions can also receive free meningococcal ACWY vaccine. This includes people with:
- a poorly functioning spleen or no spleen, including sickle cell disease or other haemoglobinopathies
- defects in, or a deficiency of, a complement component, including factor H, factor D or properdin deficiency
- current or future treatment with eculizumab .
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What Are The Common Side Effects Of Meningococcal Vaccinations
Meningitis vaccines are generally safe. Most people have only mild to moderate side effects that go away within a few days to a week. Other people report no adverse reactions.
When you receive a meningococcal vaccine, you will likely experience the following mild symptoms:
- Redness, soreness, and/or swelling at the injection site
- Nausea and/or diarrhea
At What Age Should You Get The Vaccine
In the U.S. two types of meningococcal vaccines are currently offered. The most common type is typically given to tweens aged 11-12 the other isnt routinely offered and is mostly for teenagers aged 16-18.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
MenACWY is the main vaccine that people think about when they think of the meningitis vaccine. It protects against meningococcal bacteria A, C, W, and Y, as the name implies. The vaccine is necessary for all kids over the age 11, and in some cases, much younger if children are at an increased risk of contracting the disease.
- Kids 11-12 years old should get their first shot followed by a booster shot at age 16. Teens who get the shot after age 16 dont require a booster shot.
- Younger children, ages 2 months to 10 years, may need to get the vaccine if theyre at a higher risk. This includes if they live near an outbreak, are traveling to a country with an ongoing outbreak, or if they have certain disorders that can compromise their immune system, such as sickle cell anemia or HIV.
- Adults who are immunocompromised, living near an outbreak, or in the military are also recommended to get the vaccine.
Meningococcal B vaccine
- Teenagers age 16 through 18 who are recommended by their clinician
- Kids age 10 and older who have a damaged or missing spleen
- Kids age 10 and older with persistent complement component deficiency
- Kids age 10 and older living in an outbreak area
- Microbiologists who work in a lab with the bacteria
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Monitoring The Safety Of The Menb Vaccine
In the UK, the safety of vaccines is monitored through the Yellow Card Scheme by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Committee on Safety of Medicines.
Most reactions to vaccines reported through the Yellow Card Scheme have been minor, such as rashes, fever, vomiting, and redness and swelling where the injection was given.
Page last reviewed: 6 September 2021 Next review due: 6 September 2024
First Why Does The Flu Vaccine Cause A Sore Arm
There are actually a few different things that can lead to you having a little arm soreness after your flu shot, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Health. For starters, the flu shot is an intramuscular vaccine, which means that it’s injected directly into a muscle in your arm.
“You just had puncture in your skin and muscle,” Dr. Adalja says. “That’s going to hurt and there will be some inflammation that occurs post-trauma to that muscle and skin.”
At the same time, there’s a localized immune response happening in your arm where the vaccine was injected, William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Health. Meaning, your immune system jumps into action to react to the vaccine where it was injectedin your arm. “Your immune system is really starting to take advantage of that vaccine and working on it,” Dr. Schaffner says.
Add those two factors together and you can end up with a sore arm.
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Effects Of Meningitis On The Body
Meningitis is swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. There are different types of meningitis, but most are caused by viruses or bacteria. Viral meningitis can make you very sick, but it often doesnt leave lingering effects. Bacterial meningitis is more serious. It progresses rapidly and can cause permanent damage or even become life-threatening.
Quick diagnosis and treatment can help prevent some of the potential long-term side effects. If you have symptoms of meningitis, see your doctor without delay. Anyone can get meningitis, but its more common in babies, children, and adolescents.
Symptoms And Causative Agent
Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, also called meningococcus , are an important cause of bacterial meningitis and sepsis in the United States. Meningococci can also cause pneumonia, otitis media , arthritis, and other infections, although these are less common. Collectively, the different illnesses caused by N. meningitidis are referred to as meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal meningitis symptoms include fever, headache, confusion and stiff neck, which may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Meningococcal bacteremia symptoms include sudden fever onset and rash. Other forms of meningococcal disease have symptoms related to the organ affected: otitis media has ear pain arthritis has joint pain and swelling.
Invasive meningococcal disease can be fatal survivors may have permanent injury, including brain damage, hearing loss, or loss of a limb.
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What Are The Side Effects
About half of people who get a MenACWY vaccine have mild side effects following vaccination:
- Redness or pain where they got the shot
These reactions usually get better on their own within 1 to 2 days, but serious reactions are possible.
Following a MenB shot, more than half of people who get the vaccine will have mild problems:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where you got the shot
When Do I Need To Get The Meningitis Vaccine And How Often
âIt is routine for children who go to the pediatrician at age 11 or 12 to receive this vaccine. When children get older and leave home, almost every college requires or strongly recommends that students be vaccinated before they come to campus.â
âAt the moment, this is a one-dose immunization, but the CDC is now discussing whether children who receive the vaccine at 11 or 12 years old need a booster shot just before college. I recommend students and parents stay tuned for more info, which could be coming as soon as mid-2011.â
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Meningitis Vaccine Side Effects
People who receive vaccines may not experience any side effects at all. However, some notice that some pain with flushing and swelling on the site where the vaccine was injected. These side effects, which can last from one to three days, are common to most injectable drugs and vaccines.
Rarely, people may experience more serious adverse effects such as:
- Hives, itching and redness of the skin
- Rapid heartbeats
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of consciousness
Immediate medical help is needed in these cases because one may be suffering from a severe, life threatening allergic reaction .
Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine
MPSV4 protects a patient against four common variants of meningococcal microbes. The vaccine works by exposing the individual to a small amount of the microbes or a protein which comes from them. This exposure causes a bodily reaction by developing immunity to the infection. However, the vaccine does not treat an active meningococcal infection in an individual. Side Effects of MPSV4 include:
- Severe weakness which occurs 2 – 4 weeks post-vaccination
- Slight pain in the extremities
- High grade fever
- Pain, redness, and swelling around the site of injection
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine
Possible meningitis vaccine side effects in this case are listed as follow:
How And When To Receive Meningitis Vaccine
The two forms of vaccines are administered differently. MCV4 is given as a single-dose injection to the muscle while the MPSV4 is administered under the skin.
The vaccines provide protection for at least 3 years. Most people need only one dose. However, people who remain at risk may need a second dose at least 5 years after the first shot.
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