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4 tips to consider after you get the COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some tips for dealing with COVID-19 vaccine side effects

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles that cause COVID-19.
This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some tips for dealing with COVID-19 vaccine side effects.
NIAID-RML via Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a few tips for how to deal with the immediate side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s going on?

The CDC has listed some helpful tips for dealing with the quick side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, which might include pain, swelling, fever, chills, tiredness and headaches.

The CDC suggests people talk to their doctors if they have constant pain or discomfort. Medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamines, or acetaminophen are recommended as well.

  • However, it is not recommended that people take these medications before getting the vaccine.

That said, there are four tips for people who are suffering from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. Apply a cool, wet cloth over the area where you got the shot if there’s pain there.
  2. Use or exercise the arm where the jab was injected.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids to reduce any discomfort or fever.
  4. Dress lightly to reduce any discomfort you might have. This may include baggy and loose clothing.

Why they happen

NBC News medical contributor Dr. Kavita Patel told Today.com that the symptoms are expected when you get the COVID-19 vaccine — especially the second dose.

  • “The second vaccine (dose) — think of it as having that hit to your immune system, and your immune system now recognizes the vaccine, so it does its job,” she said. “... I felt, for about 36 hours, like I had the flu.”

Similarly, Dr. Bill Moss, a pediatrician and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, also explained to Today.com how the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine impacts the body, which I wrote about.

  • “The second dose is really like a booster dose,” he said. “The immune system is seeing the vaccine for the first time with the first dose and is reacting to that, and the cells of the immune system are recruited to kind of recognize that spike protein (the part of the coronavirus that the vaccine affects). So when the body’s immune system sees (the vaccine) a second time, there are more cells and there’s a more intense immune response, resulting in those side effects.”