Fever and body ache are some of the common side effects of COVID vaccination. But do you need to take medication for COVID vaccine side effects? Let’s take a look!

Coronavirus vaccines help protect you against COVID-19 and also long-lasting problems associated with it. 

All vaccines have some side effects, including swelling or pain, chills, fever, headache, or tiredness. In a way, it’s good to have side effects. This means the vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize and fight the coronavirus. 

The main thing to know here is that although side effects are similar to COVID-19, the vaccine cannot give you the virus. It does not make you contagious. 

In most cases, the side effects are mild to moderate and last for a day or two. However, in some cases, the symptoms may be severe, including an allergic reaction, and affect the ability to perform daily activities. 

So, patients may reach for OTC or counter medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) to manage pain and fever. 

This may leave you wondering if these drugs can reduce the side effects, will they also suppress the immune system or alter the beneficial effect of the vaccine. 

Well, there is no evidence to show that ibuprofen or acetaminophen can affect how well the vaccine works.

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Should You Take Medicines Before Taking the Vaccine?

Experts believe that premedication with these drugs may hamper the antibody response of the vaccine’s first dose.

Many people prefer taking medicine to prevent the symptoms; however, the drugs may dampen the immune system and the inflammatory response. 

A recent study in the Journal of Virology suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may alter the production of antibodies and other immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.

But the evidence is not enough, and more studies are needed to prove this claim. 

Besides, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend taking the medicines ahead of the shot. 

A Word About Different Vaccines

Before moving ahead, let’s take a glance at different COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine: They both need two shots to get optimal protection from the virus. You should thus take the second dose even if you get side effects after receiving the vaccine’s first shot unless advised by your doctor. 
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine: Only a single shot is needed to get the optimal effect.

Your body takes time to build immunity against the virus after taking the vaccine. Usually, people are considered vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Moderna COVID-19 and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The duration is two weeks after the single dose of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

What Medications to Take After COVID Vaccine? 

The medicines you may need depend on your symptoms. Here are some symptoms and medicines and other precautions you may take to manage them.

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Chills

You can keep a sweater handy to use when you feel chills or cold. A warm shower can also help reduce chills and prevent them from getting uncomfortable. Unless the chills are associated with fever, you do not need any medicine. 

Fatigue

The best thing to do here is to rest. Catching some slumber allows your body to conserve energy, and the immune system can use it to develop the immune response. 

Fever

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which will help to reduce fever. You can also consult your doctor to know if you should take medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Headache

It is one of the most common side effects people experience after taking the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

You may not need any medicine if the headache is mild or moderate. In case of severe headache, you can take acetaminophen.

You can also consume plenty of fluids and sleep or rest to get rid of the headache. A head massage may also help. 

Pain at the Injection Site

To prevent this, avoid moving your arm too much. You can also try a cold compress for 20 minutes at a time. After a day, switch to warm compress 10 or 20 minutes at a time. This will help your muscles to relax. 

Swollen Lymph Nodes in Armpit

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines may cause the lymph nodes in the arm to swell (of the injected arm).

Usually, vaccines that cause a severe immune response cause the lymph nodes to swell, a condition known as axillary adenopathy. 

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The condition may cause pain but resolves within a few days. Cold compresses can help manage the pain. In cases of severe pain, acetaminophen may also help. However, as in all cases, always consult your doctor before taking medicine. 

When To See A Doctor?

It is best to consult a doctor if any of the side effects are getting worse, including pain, tenderness, or redness at the site of injection. Also, see a doctor if the side effects persist beyond a few days. 

If you have an allergic reaction, seek medical care immediately. Symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction are closing the throat, breathing, hives, and facial swelling. 

However, these reactions are rare and affect only two to five individuals in every million. 

Final Thoughts

Vaccines can protect you from the COVID-19 infection and also the problems related to the condition. As vaccines build immunity, it may also cause some symptoms such as headache or fever.

In most cases, the side effects are mild and stay only for a few days. The symptoms also suggest that the vaccine is preparing the immune system. With homecare and over-the-counter medicines, you can be active soon.


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