Doctor vaccinating a senior woman.
Doctor vaccinating a senior woman

After taking the Covid-19 vaccine, your antibodies will begin to build immune defenses, and we all respond to this in different ways. While most people have reported more side effects of COVID-19 vaccine after the second dose, others experienced little to no side effects.

That doesn’t indicate the vaccine was less effective or their immune response was inadequate; everyone is unique. But if the side effects of COVID-19 vaccine are something you are worried about, you don’t have to sweat it.

This article will guide you through certain things you can do before and after getting vaccinated.

What Are The Side Effects Of Covid-19 Vaccine

Common symptoms you may experience after the vaccine include arm pain, soreness, redness, minor swelling, fatigue, fever, nausea, chills, and headaches. They usually fade away within 24- 48 hours after taking the shot.

Although, in some cases, people who have a history of severe reactions to vaccines may experience rare allergy-related responses like temporary weakness, a nasty rash on the body, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or swollen face and throat.

CDC recommends a 15 to 30-minute wait period for observation after taking a vaccine to see if any symptoms arise.

How to Minimize The Side Effects Of Covid-19 Vaccine

Side effects of covid-19 vaccine
Side effects of Covid-19 vaccine

1. Slow Down With Work And Get Some Rest

Doctors advise people to get adequate rest before and after taking the vaccine. Making a temporary shift in your schedule can be a great help to getting the rest you need. 

It’s a good idea to use and exercise your vaccinated arm frequently. But overall, you may want to take it easy for one or two days following vaccination. 

 2. Drink Plenty Of Water

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before and after vaccination. Dehydration can exacerbate any side effects that you may encounter.

While resting, you should stay well-hydrated. Aim to take between 1 to 2 liters of water daily leading up to the shot and remain well-hydrated up to 2 days post-vaccination. To make things easier for you, consider purchasing a water bottle to keep close by after you’ve taken your shot.

The CDC says this can also be a great way to reduce discomfort from fever. High consumption of liquid days before taking your vaccine can also help with nausea, and you can consider sipping some ginger tea or hot water, sliced or grated fresh ginger mix.

3. Apply Cold Compress to Your Arm

A sore is likely to appear immediately after taking the vaccine. This is a sign that your body is beginning to develop an immune response to the vaccine.

To quickly relieve this pain, get an ice pack and apply a cold compress. A cold compress does a great job of easing prickle pains, swelling, and aches. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can use frozen peas or a clean, soft, and cold washcloth.

4. Give the Arm Some Workout

It is not a great idea to move an injected arm immediately after taking the vaccine, as this can aggravate swelling, soreness, or pain. However, medical experts typically recommend an arm workout a while after a flu shot as this ease aches off quicker. 

If you have some time to sneak in a workout in your day, then engage in light upper arm exercises that help to reduce the muscle ache in the injected arm.

To do this, frequently move the injected arm at the shoulder to prevent further soreness or pain.

5. Keep Some Pain Meds Close By

Contrary to what some people say, you don’t have to take pain or fever medication before taking the vaccine. Still, afterward, typical over-the-counter painkillers are sufficient to minimize the side effects of COVID vaccine.

Tylenol is an excellent painkiller to take after shots. It doesn’t interfere much with the antibody response and the production of antibodies, which happens once your immune system sees the vaccine.

Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. 

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.

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

But If you’re prone to or have experienced redness, swelling, hives, or itching following any vaccination, you may want to consider an antihistamine like Benadryl before getting vaccinated.

When To Contact a Doctor For the Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine?

Side effects of Covid-19 Vaccine
Side effects of Covid-19 vaccine

As mentioned earlier, in most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a sign that your body is building protection. According to the CDC, side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine, but they should also go away “in a few days.”

The most severe side effects people could experience from the vaccine are usually due to allergic reactions shortly after taking your shot.  That’s why doctors advise patients should wait up to 30 minutes after taking an injection. 

However, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • The redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • Your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you’re experiencing a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, you should seek immediate medical care. 

What Other Things Should You Keep in Mind After Taking Your COVID-19 Vaccine?

After taking a vaccine, you may be thinking, “Now I am safe!” Not quite.

Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine are needed for effectiveness. The first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech offers up to 50% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19, while the second dose pushes the protection up to 95%.

After vaccination, a person’s body doesn’t build up immunity instantly. Instead, this can take several weeks. It is essential to follow up with additional public health measures.

Conclusion

It’s essential to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and those around you. It’s critical that you keep your appointment for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after getting the first unless your provider recommends otherwise.

Even if you experienced side effects following your first dose, receiving the second dose is the only way the vaccine’s efficacy can be ensured and the only way you can maximize your immunity to COVID-19.

However, it is crucial to keep to social distancing and mask-wearing measures for additional protection even after taking the vaccine until we achieve herd immunity. 

Ensure you speak to a doctor or healthcare professionals available at the Medicwell if you develop severe symptoms that are unabated from taking a vaccine


Jennifer Billings is the Medical Editor at National Coronavirus Hotline(NCH). She is an Integrated medical doctor who has been published on NCH Blog, Medium.com and is a regular contributor at MedCity News, Physician Family, and Psychology Today.