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Non-medical person here, but my question, I think, is on topic for this site.

Every time after I've gotten a vaccine injection I've always been given a variation of the same advice - "Don't wash/wet that place today/24h". I once ignored that just to see what happens, and the site got reddish, swelled a bit and became sensitive for a few days. Perhaps some sort of inflammation?

What I don't understand is - why? The puncture hole is tiny and closes almost instantaneously. There's no way any infection can get in through there, right? And if it was just about infection, I'd expect to see the same reaction any time I cut myself by accident. More so because those wounds usually close much slower. But that doesn't happen. What's going on here? Is this even true, or just a part of local medical tradition?

I've tried searching for this on the internet but I cannot find anything.

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    I've never heard that before so I suspect the better question would be whether it's true rather than why. – Carey Gregory Jun 3 at 18:17
  • There are special care instructions for the vaccinia vaccine (though not for only 24hr) but otherwise this seems unusual. What vaccines are these and where in the world are you? – Bryan Krause Jun 3 at 18:21
  • This has applied to any and all vaccines I've ever received in my 35 years of life; plus all vaccines my wife and kids have ever received. Flu, tick-borne-encephalitis, diphtheria, you name it. Doesn't matter where I've been and who did it, every nurse has said the same thing. I'm from Latvia and I've already had a suspicion this might be more of a cultural leftover than actual medical advice. – Vilx- Jun 3 at 20:41

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