How to Prepare for a Flu Shot

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Flu season--it's safe to say no one welcomes it. Instead of spending your time dreading the impending flu shot, use that time more productively to prepare for your vaccination. Preparation is the key to diffusing the anxiety and boosting your health. Shots cause anxiety in many people, and while there is no magic formula that will make a flu vaccination a fun experience, if you dedicate a little effort and time to preparing for it, you can greatly reduce the stress.

Things You'll Need

  • Multivitamin
  • Favorite music
  • Schedule an appointment with your physician at least 2 weeks in advance. If your employer provides your flu vaccination, find out as early as possible what date is scheduled. It may seem odd that you would actually want a stretch of time between scheduling and receiving your flu shot, but there is method to the madness. If you only have a couple of days notice, you are more likely to skip or cancel the shot. A last-second shot doesn't give you the opportunity to prepare yourself mentally or physically.

  • Select a low-energy favorite song. Jazz, classical, easy listening or spiritual songs work very well. Make it a song that you will listen to at the end of every day to relax. Use this song at the same time each evening, as you're preparing for bed.

  • Boost your body's immune system. Ask a trusted pharmacist to recommend a good multivitamin. You can also try using melatonin at night to help you feel more rested if you're feeling anxious, along with stretching exercises or yoga. If you are taking prescription medications for sleep, do not add any over-the-counter remedies or supplements without first contacting your physician.

  • Reduce the refined sugars and caffeine in your diet. If you normally have a caffeinated beverage after noon, switch to a decaffeinated drink. The caffeine and sugars create instability in energy levels and can cause you to feel jittery. Getting your body detoxed from most of these will help you relax before and during the procedure.

  • Relax. During your flu vaccination, the goal is to be calm. Use the tools you've given yourself. Recall the song you have been using to calm you at night. Tensing your muscles can make the injection site more tender, so try to consciously relax as much as possible.

  • Use a cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes at a time if you have tenderness after the shot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid discussing your vaccine with others. You don't need their details of past experiences as you try to calm your own anxiety.
  • Avoid as much unnecessary stress as possible leading up to your vaccine.
  • If you have redness, swelling, fever or any other critical side effects, contact your physician immediately. Side effects are rare but can happen.
  • Photo Credit Image courtesy of www.free-clipart-pictures.net
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