Flu shot tips

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Float.

I usually work nights and we don't do a lot of immunizations. I am doing some extra work though this year doing flu shots. A couple quick questions:

1) does it matter which arm? Is it better to do non-dominant since it may hurt a little afterwards?

2) do you massage the site after the injection?


Speaking as a pt, I would say your non dominant arm, everyone reacts differently, but I know sometimes my arm would swell up or it would hurt to raise it.

I'd be interested in hearing some other responces from nurses who do flu clinics!

Specializes in ER, Trauma.

I've heard 2 theories. Putting it in the non-dominant arm will cause less pain because it's not used as much. OR; Putting it in the dominant arm will cause less pain because the more the muscle is used the faster it will be absorbed.

I take mine in the dominant arm.

Specializes in Hospice.

don't massage the site after injection it could inadvertently cause underlying tissue damage

i would ask pt, if they have preferance of arm.

no, do not massage.


I work in a Family Practice Clinic and I have been giving out the Flu shot to practically whoever walks in the door. As a way of giving the patient some control over their healthcare, I always ask the pt which arm they prefer to have the injection. For the most part my pt's like having it in their left arm. I for one am right handed and I like getting it in left arm - less pain I supposebandaid.png

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I am working in for a flu shot clinic and I usually just ask the pt what arm they would prefer it in. If it is a woman if she has had a mastecomy then in the opposite arm

Make sure to remind them to relax the muscle the needle goes in easier

Its always better to just ask the patient which arm them want the injection in and to lightly massage after...helps with the stinging

Specializes in Med Surg, Ortho.

I take mine in dominant arm, soreness goes away quicker IMO.

1. I prefer to recieve my injections in the dominant arm, but I believe you should ask the patient for their preference.

2. An interesting trick I have used is applying pressure to the site of the injection approx ten seconds before injection. It reportedly fatigues the nerve receptors in the skin and causes less pain during needle insertion.

Good Luck!

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

we have a drive by clinic annually at our hospital (drive by shooting is my term) and last year I personally gave 200 injections to whichever arm the pt requested, no massage.

Specializes in LPN, Peds, Public Health.

I always ask the patient, most come in with their sleeve already rolled up!

I personally prefer mine in my dominant arm.

I massage, gently, for just a quick moment. Nothing hard or vigorous.

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