Flu shot

Something for all you med students…

With the flu going nuts in the US, upcoming travel, and my recent history of getting sick at the drop of a hat, a few weeks ago I gave into my mom’s hounding and went to get a flu shot.  What with a doctor for a mom, living in the dorms, and then working in a hospital, I’ve generally made it a habit to get my flu shot every year, but there seems to be rather less fuss about it in Japan.

Anyway, the point I’m writing this post (because I’m guessing most of you had no interest in the above) was that flu shots are very different in Japan.  Should this not come as a surprise?

Rather than getting the shot up high closer to my shoulder, I got my shot down at the bottom of my upper arm just above my elbow.

And it gets massive itchy!

The next day I developed a 2-inch circle of red, feverish, itchy skin with my shot at the middle.  I started freaking out, wondering if the doctor had done something weird and I had gotten infected (already had that once in the last year).  Or maybe my body was incompatible with something that’s in Japanese flu shots and not US ones.

But when I asked about it at church the next day, everyone said it was normal!  They said just about everyone got the hot, red, itchy skin to various degrees, some people it covers half their upper arm.

On the other hand (or arm? heh heh), in the US I was always pretty sore for a day, but there was none of that this time.

OK, so I’m guessing some of you have been snoring for a while now.  But I’d be interested to know why there are differences.  Is vaccine production really that different here?  Anybody else have international flu shot experiences?

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  1. Hwanger
    February 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Hmm I haven’t found anything that says the Japanese vaccine is any different, but it’s weird they shot it near your elbow. Anyways, I did find this post about someone else’s flu shot so I thought i’d share! http://open.salon.com/blog/tracy_slater_hoshino/2013/01/22/my_japanese_flu_shot_if_thats_what_it_was

    cya buddy!

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