COVID vaccine

Should You Eat Before Receiving the COVID Vaccine? Chicago's Top Doc Answers

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In preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, should you eat a full meal beforehand? Chicago's top doctor gave her recommendation Tuesday.

During a Facebook Live event, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said people should eat before receiving any shot or having blood drawn.

"I always recommend that if someone's going to get their blood drawn or get a shot that you should just eat a good breakfast or a good lunch," Arwady said. "Make sure you've had plenty of water that day. That's really all you need to do related to preparation before the COVID vaccine shot. You don't need to take any medication in advance."

She added that individuals with food should meet with their physicians to ensure nothing interacting with the vaccine would cause a reaction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated. 

The CDC does not recommend, however, that people take such over-the-counter medications or antihistamines to prevent side effects prior to receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

Health officials noted that it is not known how those medications might affect the efficacy of the vaccine. For people who take medications for underlying medical conditions, the CDC recommends to continue taking.

"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. "It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects."

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizing emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expected to recommend the shots for young teens, vaccinations could begin later this week.

Much like vaccinations for young adults, Pfizer's COVID vaccine could bring some mild, but not concerning, side effects for kids as well, health officials say.

The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and reported the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, particularly after the second dose.

Arwady also said preliminary information did not indicate younger groups saw more or less side effects than others.

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