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Thursday, April 17, 2014
I am 61 years old and received a pneumonia shot yesterday. My arm is painful and swollen in the area of the shot. Is this a normal reaction to the shot?
Many patients can get pain and swelling at the site of the injection. Pneumonia vaccine shots (and influenza vaccine shots)do not contain live pneumonia bacteria or influenza virus so it is not possible to get pneumonia from a pneumonia shot or to get influenza from a flu shot. Most patients will mild swelling, redness, and pain at the site of injection will improve with acetaminophen or other analgesics. Sometimes cooling (such as ice packs) can reduce the swelling. This is usually due to an immunologic reaction to the vaccine components and generally not a sign of infection. Patients with fever (over 102 degrees) should see their physician.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University