What To Avoid After Getting Your Flu Shot

May 02, 2024

Days are getting shorter. No doubt, you have been turning on the heater in the evenings. Winter is coming, and so is the dreaded flu season. But the good news is the annual flu shot, carefully formulated to protect you and your loved ones against the most prevalent strains of influenza this flu season, is now available.

The flu shot is recommended yearly for everyone over six months old. However, if you know what to avoid after your flu shot, you can handle the expected after-effects more easily.  So, MedAdvisor is here to help you understand what to do and avoid before and after getting your flu shot.

What Should I Do Before a Flu Shot?

There are a few simple things you can do before your flu shot to decrease flu shot after-effects

  • Adequate hydration and nutrition ensure your immune system can function at its best and lessen flu shot after-effects. So, eat a healthy, balanced meal and drink a few glasses of water beforehand. 
  • Wear appropriate clothing to your appointment that makes it easy to access your upper arm on your non-dominant side. We also suggest something with a short sleeve that is easy off at the end of the day if you get an achy arm.
  • Be prepared to discuss any pre-existing conditions, medications, and allergies with your doctor or pharmacist. Take a copy of your medication list, medication packets, or your MedAdvisor app to your flu shot appointment. This will assist your healthcare provider to advise you on what flu shot is best for you.

What to Avoid Immediately After the Flu Shot?

After your flu shot, your body will be busy building an immune response to the deactivated or weakened form of influenza virus you received.  As a result, you may experience some flu shot after-effects.

This is totally normal, so don’t worry.  Instead, look after yourself by avoiding these things immediately after the flu shot.

  • Avoid strenuous activity for 24-48 hours after your flu shot.  We are all different, and what is strenuous to you is individual.  Instead, listen to your body and rest as you need.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates your body and decreases your immune response. Drinking too much alcohol after your flu shot may make it less effective and prolong flu shot after-effects.  Instead, nourish your body with healthy whole foods and plenty of waterChoose things like soup, veggies, fruits, water, herbal tea, and low-sugar juices.
  • Medications.  Most medications will not interfere with your flu shot.  They also won’t increase flu shot after-effects. So, continue to take your medication as usual.

However, if you take medications that suppress your immune system, including methotrexate or steroids, it’s best to talk to your GP or pharmacist about whether you should take these at a different time on the day of your flu shot.

Likewise, if you are on blood thinners, you might notice some bruising at your injection site, especially if you are on Warfarin and your INR is out of range. So, talk to your GP or pharmacist about how to take your blood thinners before and after your flu shot.

Remember to take all medications as prescribed, regardless of upcoming or recent flu shots, unless a medical practitioner has advised otherwise.

Common Flu Shot Side Effects

As we said before, flu shot after-effects are totally normal.  But here is what to expect after your flu shot and some tips on how to look after yourself.

  • Irritation and discomfort are common at the injection site. A slight itching and swelling are signs of your immune system's localised response to the injection. To minimise this, apply something cool to the area and gently move your arm to keep blood flowing to the area.
  • Muscle aches and fevers are actually a good sign.  They show that your immune system is reacting to the vaccine and building an immune response that will keep you well if exposed to the flu.  Both are treated with Panadol.
  •  Drowsiness or fatigue.  Like when you have a cold and need an afternoon nap or early night, you might feel the same for a day or two after your flu shot.  The best way to combat fatigue after your flu shot is to listen to your body, like when you are sick, and take extra rest.

When to Seek Medical Attention?

Flu shots commonly cause local irritation, achiness, and tiredness, which can be treated at home. However, in rare cases, people experience more severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

Severe symptoms include

Don’t hesitate to call an ambulance or visit the emergency room for assessment.

Where Can I Learn More About the Flu Shot?

Do you still have questions or want to know more? Click below for more information on the flu, the flu shot, and getting vaccinated.


Ready to Protect Yourself, Your Loved Ones and the Community Against the Flu This Season?

Book your flu vaccination with ease using the MedAdvisor app.  Download now to schedule your shot. 

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Remember, knowing the essential steps for caring for yourself before and after your flu shot will decrease your flu shot after-effects. So, save this blog for later for a smoother flu-shot experience.



Try for yourself & download the app for free today!

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