In this article:
- The COVID-19 vaccine: What to know before you go
- Tips to help manage COVID-19 vaccine side effects
- Effective natural supplements to consider pre & post vaccine for better health
Covid vaccine eligibility is opening up for millions of people worldwide. There are three effective COVID-19 vaccines that have been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Both the Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna vaccines include mRNA in their ingredients and require two doses (shots to the upper arm) administered 3-4 weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose vaccine shot also administered to the upper arm. For the two-dose vaccines, each shot may come with its own set of side effects. For the single-dose J&J vaccine, you may experience all of the vaccine side effects at once rather than one set per each dose. However, more people report side effects from the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than the first dose. Before choosing a vaccine, speak with your health care provider about your risks and potential allergic reactions so they can determine which, if any, vaccine is right for you.
Per the FAQs found on the CDC website, common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines include:
The CDC also states that "If you had an immediate or severe allergic reaction [anaphylaxis] after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital."
The following groups are also more likely to have adverse reactions to vaccines:
Vaccines work by triggering our immune systems to create antibodies that fight diseases such as Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, "antibody-producing memory cells" are produced to help prevent future illness when exposed to the same disease. Essentially, vaccines expose the immune system to specified diseases and train it to respond in certain ways to avoid getting sick. New COVID-19 vaccines contain mRNA which corresponds to a viral protein and instructs the body to identify the protein as foreign and create antibodies to eliminate it.
Those who have strong negative reactions to vaccines often have weakened immune systems. Thus, strengthening the immune response before you get "the jab" is important. Here are some things you can do leading up to your first and second vaccine appointments:
Whether you've just gotten your first dose or walked away after your second shot, vaccination card in hand, you can continue a simple routine to keep vaccine side effects at bay. After your first or second vaccination dose:
Take a natural pain reliever. Supplements like boswellia serrata and turmeric can help treat pain and inflammation without the nasty side effects that often come from daily NSAID use.
As with most vaccine-related symptoms, the severity varies across individuals. However, the CDC recommends you contact a doctor if the redness or tenderness at the vaccination site gets worse after 24 hours and/or if your side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days.
Depending on where you live, vaccination appointments may be scheduled online and administered in hospitals, private practices, pharmacies (like CVS and Walgreens), and "pop-up" clinics can even be held in public spaces like parks, arenas, and small businesses. If you have any concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, have had severe reactions to prior vaccines, or simply want more information about how to lessen the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, speak with a trusted doctor.
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