Hold Off on the OTC Painkillers
Reported side effects of the COVID vaccine are, overall, minor: headache, muscle aches, fatigue, injection site swelling/pain, chills, muscle pain. In an effort to prevent those effects, vaccine recipients may choose to take an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, before getting the shot. While the side effects of the vaccine are likely to be minor and temporary, use of painkillers "may prevent parts of the immune system from working and slow down the immune response. There is a theory that taking these medications before immunization may reduce their effectiveness."
Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group member Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist, commented, “We do not recommend premedication with ibuprofen or Tylenol before COVID-19 vaccines due to the lack of data on how it impacts the vaccine-induced antibody responses.” A few points of which to be aware: Those taking pain relievers needed for other medical conditions should continue use, as stopping them may be more harmful than beneficial. If a patient is experiencing discomfort from the shot, simple remedies usually work, such as using a wet, cool cloth on the site of injection. If a patient experiences chills, fever, headache from the vaccine, then pain relievers are recommended, but not before.
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