As you prepare for either your first or second shot of the COVID vaccine, many are bracing for potential side effects, but what can you do to mitigate your symptoms?
One thing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you shouldn't do is take over-the-counter medications or antihistamines like ibuprofen before getting your shot.
Health officials noted that it is not known how those medications might affect the efficacy of the vaccine. Some experts have questioned if pain medications aimed at reducing fevers and treating inflammation could potentially hinder an immune response to the vaccine.
Research on children has shown that those who take acetaminophen prior to getting a vaccine have a lower immune response than those who didn't, CNBC reports. Plus, a recent Yale study on mice found that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prior to COVID-19 exposure could dampen "the inflammatory response and production of protective antibodies."
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For people who take medications for underlying medical conditions, the CDC recommends to continue taking them, however.
Afterwards, however, is another story.
The CDC recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort post-vaccination.
"You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally," the CDC states.
There are other ways to relieve symptoms you may experience after getting vaccinated, according to the CDC.
If you experience pain in your arm, try the following:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
- Use or exercise your arm.
If you develop a fever, you should:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Dress lightly
The CDC recommends you seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
- If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
- If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
According to Pfizer, about 3.8% of their clinical trial participants experienced fatigue as a side effect and 2% got a headache. Moderna says 9.7% of their participants felt fatigued and 4.5% got a headache.
The CDC reports common side effects on the arm where the shot was administered include:
Common side effects in the body include:
- Muscle pain
"The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine both need 2 shots in order to get the most protection," the CDC states. "You should get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it."