General Question

avvooooooo's avatar

How long should you have muscle aches after a flu shot?

Asked by avvooooooo (8855points) September 10th, 2009

I got my seasonal flu shot two days ago. It started out ok, but then the muscles from the base of my neck, all the way down my shoulder, and down to about 3 inches above my elbow started to ache. I haven’t done anything other than get a flu shot (no muscle strain or anything like that), so this has to be related. Problem is, its not abating any (even with Tylenol or Aleeve) and favoring my arm and shoulder like that, especially when I sleep, is making me hurt elsewhere.

Have you ever had anything like this happen? How long did it last? Was there something that you took that really worked/helped?

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22 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Sorry – no cookies in the house (I’m trying to be good).

Whenever I get a shot I massage it in right away, and the muscle has never been as sore as you describe, but I will feel it for a couple days.

Thanks for reminding me – hopefully I’ll be able to get my flu shot tomorrow!

DominicX's avatar

I don’t want to get off-topic, but when’s the best time to get a flu shot?

To try and answer the question, I wouldn’t really know because last year when I got a flu shot, there were muscle aches but only lasted one day and then it went away. I have so many arm-related pains right now, I don’t even want to think about that…

gailcalled's avatar

@DominicX: Check the medical center or student health at Stanford. They can answer your questions.

For aches, you might try icing it. A package of frozen peas does nicely..tie it onto site with a rag for 20 minutes. (Then eat if you like.)

avvooooooo's avatar

@gailcalled Crap, I just cooked the peas tonight! :)

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Mine usually last about a week. I hate flu shots.

XOIIO's avatar

Flu shot?

augustlan's avatar

@XOIIO What?

Mine always hurts for days, accompanied by a knot and weakness.

Judi's avatar

Got mine today and I don’t even feel it. Maybe tomorrow will be different. This is the first year I’ve gotten one.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@Judi: I’m so jealous! Mine are always incredibly painful in the hours after the injection. I have to cancel my appointments and just mope around. That’s why I basically stopped getting them. When they come out with the H1N1 vaccine I’ll probably get that, I guess. I’m in the age group the CDC recommends to get it.

augustlan's avatar

It’s interesting to me that you guys have already gotten your shots. I’m in a high risk category, and I can’t get mine ‘til October 1st. What’s up with that? Maybe it’s regional?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@augustlan: I haven’t gotten one, but Walgreens has a local ad for houston released Sept 5 that features them prominently.

Judi's avatar

My doctor gave it to me early because I’m going to Gutamala.
I am up now with a sinus headach and achy, but the sinus could be the pollution and the soreness could be from working out yesterday.

hearkat's avatar

@augustlan: I work in healthcare, so my employer offers them to us.

avvooooooo's avatar

I got mine at Walgreen’s. Then again, we’ve got “swine” flu in the schools right now down in my part of Georgia. With as many cases of flu as we’ve got here (and throughout the South), I would imagine that they’re trying to make sure that people get it so that they can identify swine flu if someone gets something because they’ve already gotten the seasonal flu shot. Considering the fact that none of this “swine” flu had been confirmed as “swine” flu (and I’m not sure that people aren’t being reactionary and calling things “flu” that aren’t), I think its just what they can do to get people calmed down.

I’m still owwie, and now I’m really feeling aches in other parts of my body three days out. Not great. Some of it may be the way I’m sleeping, some of it may be because of the shot. Who knows… but the arm is still very owwie!

hearkat's avatar

I got my shot today, and I massaged it in a bit. I went to the gym after work and had no problems. I expect it’ll be more tender tomorrow, though.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@avvooooooo: According to the CDC, more than 99% of reported flu cases this week in the US have been H1N1.

avvooooooo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Since they’re no longer sending off samples to test to the CDC or state labs regularly (with every case), that’s bull hooey. They’re not even sometimes sending off, its dropped to “occasionally.” With all the flu cases in my area, the doctors have sent two samples off recently. Without sending it off, there’s no way to tell the difference between swine flu and regular flu. People (and doctors) are assuming that any flu is swine flu… Just like every bird is a flamingo.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@avvooooooo: Who is is “they”? According to, which was updated at 7:00 am this morning (ie 3 hours ago), ” Almost all of the influenza viruses identified were 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses.” Did they just make that up?

I’m not saying all ‘flu-like symptoms’ are H1N1, I’m just saying that THE CDC is saying, that almost all actual influenza is H1N1

avvooooooo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela The key word in that statement is “identified.” If health care providers (they) are no longer sending the sample off except in a few cases, then its likely that almost all of the identified cases (where the health care providers already had strong suspicions) would be swine flu.

Here is but one news report about the non-mandatory testing. According to this, and many other articles, “the cases are only assumed to be swine because doctors are no longer specifically testing for the virus.” There are viruses that resemble the flu, there are seasonal flus, there are all kinds of things, but they’re all assumed to be swine flu. It also goes on to say that tests are only being sent off in high risk or severe cases.

So yeah, the CDC published their results and did not disclose the relevant information. So… kinda made it up. At least the hype.

One last quote from that article… ’“If a person has flu like symptoms the doctor is going to go ahead and treat them for the flu whether the test is positive or whether the test is conducted at all,’ Christian said.”

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Oh, I see, so when “Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s chief of immunization and respiratory diseases, said 98 percent of those flu cases were the new H1N1 swine flu” in this New York Times article published today, she just made that up off the top of her head. Of course.

avvooooooo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Tested cases. Not all cases, tested cases. Not all people, just the people that continue to be reported. As reporting is no longer mandatory, generally the cases which are reported are those of people whose doctors strongly suspect that they have the swine flu. The sample from which the statistic is drawn is skewed. Its like asking people at the donut store who are there to buy donuts if they like donuts. Those people are going to say yes because of the group that was chosen to sample. If not all cases are having samples sent in to be tested and you’re only testing the ones that are highly suspected to be swine flu, you’re going to get those results. The problem is that they’re not really meaningful.

Did you not see above where all flu-like cases are assumed to be swine flu? They’re not testing, they don’t know for sure, they’re making an assumption that leads to meaningless statistics without hard facts to back them up.

You’re not right. If you’d bother to consider what I’m saying instead of trying to prove a non-provable point, you’d see that.

And yes, I did read the article. It doesn’t change the sampling problem with the statistic they’re using or the fact that they’re estimating and guessing that things are flu and that all flus are swine flu and that things that are a flu-like virus that isn’t flu at all is swine flu as well. Its an estimate. And its crap science and crap scare tactic public relations to not talk about how the statistics they’re throwing about are devised.

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