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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.


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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Tips For Getting A Flu Shot

by Francisco Arnold

Getting a flu shot is simple. You show up to your local pharmacy, urgent care center, or doctor's office. The whole process takes a couple of minutes as the practitioner inserts a needle into your arm and presses down on the plunger. You head back home.

As simple as this process is, though, there are still a few tips you'll want to follow for a better experience.

Bring your insurance information.

Almost every practitioner offers free flu shots, but if you have health insurance, they will likely want to pass the cost of the shot on to your insurance company. So bring your insurance card along with you, whether you're getting the shot at a pharmacy, a medical center, or some sort of clinic.

Drink water beforehand.

Makes sure you are well hydrated before you go in for your flu shot. There are two big reasons for this. First, if needles tend to make you a little queasy, this tends to be less pronounced if you are well hydrated. Second, some people tend to get muscle aches after the flu shot. Adequate hydration can minimize aches. You don't have to drink a whole gallon of water or buy a special hydration beverage; just drinking a glass or two of water is fine.

Relax and distract yourself.

Try to stay as relaxed as possible as the nurse or practitioner gives you the shot. Some practitioners are really good at distracting you with a conversation so you don't suspect it when the needle goes in. If yours does not seem to be distracting you, focus on distracting yourself. If your muscle is relaxed when the needle goes in, it will hurt less, and your arm won't be as sore afterward.

Take painkillers afterward.

Unless your doctor has told you not to take them for health-related reasons, taking a dose of painkillers after your flu shot can really help reduce the amount of soreness and stiffness you experience in the hours that follow. There are certain painkillers that should not be taken as a substitute. While they won't do any harm, they do not reduce inflammation in the same way.

Getting a flu shot is a smart thing to do not only for your own health but for the health of the community. It's not a big deal, is not overly painful, and can be made even less of a hassle if you follow the tips above. Contact a facility for more information regarding flu shots.