How to help protect yourself from vaccine administration injury

October 23, 2018

A study by researchers at the University of Waterloo reiterates the need for health care professionals, including pharmacists, to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of their patients suffering shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA).

SIRVA is an uncommon and understudied phenomenon that people may experience after receiving an improperly administered vaccination. It occurs when an injection is administered too high in the arm, and the vaccine is delivered to the shoulder capsule instead of the deltoid muscle.

"With flu season underway and flu vaccinations widely available, both the public and health care providers should understand how to recognize and respond to SIRVA," said Kelly Grindrod, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at Waterloo. "There are strategies we can adopt to decrease the likelihood of experiencing SIRVA.

"When going for your flu shot, wear a sleeveless shirt or a shirt where the sleeves can easily be rolled up. Don't pull the neck of your shirt down as this can lead to a vaccine being injected into the shoulder instead of the arm. Putting your hand on your hip with your elbow out and away from the body will also help relax the deltoid muscle where the injection is going."

It is common to experience a dull muscle ache after a vaccine injection, but that pain disappears within a few days. By contrast, SIRVA will result in pain that begins within 48 hours of vaccine administration and does not improve with over-the-counter painkiller medications

"In patients who experience SIRVA, months may pass by, and patients will still complain of increasing pain, weakness, and impaired mobility in the injected arm. Simple actions like lifting your arm to brush your teeth can cause pain," said Grindrod. "It's important that we learn to recognize these signs of SIRVA so that we can access appropriate treatment."

People experiencing these symptoms should talk to their doctor. An ultrasound scan is necessary to diagnose SIRVA and determine the level and type of damage. Treatment includes a corticosteroid injection to the shoulder or physiotherapy.

Though SIRVA is fairly uncommon, it also often goes undiagnosed. Improved awareness about SIRVA is necessary for health care providers as well as patients. Grindrod and co-authors conducted a review of the literature to develop resources that teach health care providers about SIRVA and how to avoid it by using proper vaccination landmarking techniques.

The article, Getting it in the right spot: Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) and other injection site events, recently appeared in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Pain Articles from Brightsurf:

Pain researchers get a common language to describe pain
Pain researchers around the world have agreed to classify pain in the mouth, jaw and face according to the same system.

It's not just a pain in the head -- facial pain can be a symptom of headaches too
A new study finds that up to 10% of people with headaches also have facial pain.

New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events.

Pain, pain go away: new tools improve students' experience of school-based vaccines
Researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have teamed up with educators, public health practitioners and grade seven students in Ontario to develop and implement a new approach to delivering school-based vaccines that improves student experience.

Pain sensitization increases risk of persistent knee pain
Becoming more sensitive to pain, or pain sensitization, is an important risk factor for developing persistent knee pain in osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study by researchers from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) School of Rehabilitation and Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont Research Centre (CRHMR) in collaboration with researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

Becoming more sensitive to pain increases the risk of knee pain not going away
A new study by researchers in Montreal and Boston looks at the role that pain plays in osteoarthritis, a disease that affects over 300 million adults worldwide.

Pain disruption therapy treats source of chronic back pain
People with treatment-resistant back pain may get significant and lasting relief with dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy, an innovative treatment that short-circuits pain, suggests a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 annual meeting.

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology.

Peripheral nerve block provides some with long-lasting pain relief for severe facial pain
A new study has shown that use of peripheral nerve blocks in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN) may produce long-term pain relief.

Read More: Pain News and Pain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.