Now that the everyone over the age of 16 in the U.S. is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, experts say that when it is your turn to get immunized, follow the Girl Scout motto and “Be Prepared.”
Drs. Karine Tawagi and Amanda Benarroch told ABC News that a few professional tips will help make vaccination day more successful.
*Get a good night’s sleep before getting the vaccine. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has officially endorsed sleep as a proven way to get the most benefits from the COVID-19 vaccines. “Sleep is critical for optimizing immune function,” said board certified internist Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of the best-selling book, From Fatigued to Fantastic. “One of the most powerful ways to suppress immunity is through sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that vaccines are more likely to enhance immunity if you have good sleep for a few nights before and after a vaccination.”
*Dress for the part. Wear comfortable shoes and follow Dolly Parton’s lead by wearing an outfit that make it easy for the technician to inoculate the upper left arm.
*Come to the site well-fed. Tawagi and Benarroch said that eating a good breakfast and making sure you are hydrated can prevent light-headedness cause by the potential stress and anxiety of getting vaccinated.
*Do not take pain medication before the vaccine to lessen potential side effects. Dr. John Brownstein at Boston Children’s Hospital told ABC News that medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and antihistamines may affect vaccine effectiveness. The side effects are usually mild, but Brownstein says it is fine to take pain-relieving medications after the vaccine.
According to Dr. Rudolf Kotula, an infectious disease physician at the Nebraska Methodist Health System, experiencing any side effect, such as fatigue, joint pain, fever and chills, headache of nausea is actually a good thing because it means your body is reacting to the vaccine in an appropriate manner.
*Apply a clean, cool wet cloth to the injection site after the injection. This can help relieve arm pain and swelling. Wear loose clothing so you do not constrict the area.
*Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before and after vaccination, said Kotula. “Dehydration can exacerbate any side effects that you may encounter,” he warned.
*Use or exercise your arm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using your vaccinated arm to reduce pain and discomfort. But do not overdo, cautioned Kotula. “You may want to take it easy for one or two days following vaccination,” he said. “Overdoing can weaken your immune system — and right now, the goal is to strengthen it.”
*Do not stop taking allergy medications. If you are already taking medications for allergies, don’t stop taking them, according to WebMD. But taking an antihistamine like Benadryl prior to getting vaccinated may blunt anaphylaxis, a severe but rare reaction to the vaccine, that could delay appropriate treatment. Discuss taking any antihistamine with your doctor.
*Avoid alcohol 24 hours before and after getting vaccinated. Experts say that alcohol may accelerate allergic reactions, according to WebMD.
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