As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in the United States, many Americans are preparing to get a vaccine and are beginning to look toward the end of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. have been carefully evaluated in clinical trials and are deemed safe and effective by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). When you're able to get the vaccine, knowing how to prepare and what to expect after vaccination can help put your mind at ease.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine not only protects you, but also the people around you. After receiving the vaccination you may experience some side effects, but the CDC tells us that these are completely normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus. While some people have no symptoms, others may experience symptoms like pain, swelling, headache, chills, fever and tiredness that should go away in a few days. Some tips to help manage these common side effects include:
1) When approved to get a vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider ahead of time if you have questions about side effects. You may be going to a vaccination clinic where your healthcare provider is not directly administering the injection, so if you want their advice on preparing for side effects, speak with them before your appointment.
2) Get good rest in the days leading up to the appointment, especially the night before. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, rest and good nutrition may help prepare your immune system for the vaccination.
3) Side effects may affect your ability to go about your daily routine, so plan for some low-key days following your vaccination. Per the CDC, any discomfort should go away after a few days.
4) Plan ahead for post-vaccination care by having the essentials on hand in your medicine cabinet. According to the CDC, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (eg. Advil) can reduce pain, fever, or discomfort you may have after your COVID-19 vaccine, including mild aches or arm soreness. According to Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, B.S., Pharm.D., FCCP, FASHP, FFSMB, “Aches and fever are common side effects of the coronavirus vaccination, and can easily be treated with a pain reliever like Advil.”
5) If your vaccine requires two doses, talk with your vaccination clinic or pharmacy to schedule your second dose. You should plan to get the second dose even if you experienced side effects after the first dose, unless your vaccination provider tells you otherwise.
When it is time to get your COVID-19 vaccination, these tips will help you feel prepared and empowered as you take an important step to help end the pandemic. After your vaccination, continue to take smart safety measures such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water, wearing a mask when out in public, avoiding large crowds and practicing social distancing.
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