Pain relievers before a COVID-19 vaccine could make it less effective – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • Experts advise against taking over-the-counter painkillers before the coronavirus vaccine, as they may interfere with an optimal response. 
  • After the vaccine, avoid taking pain meds to cope with side effects unless you’ve discussed it with your doctor. 
  • Keep your immune system strong before and after your vaccine by limiting alcohol, getting enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After getting the coronavirus vaccine, it’s common to experience mild side effects like soreness at the site of injection, muscle pain, headaches. Some proactive folks have sought to help prevent those discomforts by popping over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (sold in the US as Tylenol), before their appointment. 

But experts are now warning against taking pain meds pre-vaccine, since it’s unclear how they may interfere with the shot’s efficacy. It’s possible they dull it by tamping down the immune response that both trains the body to fight off the coronavirus and gives rise to side effects. 

“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,” Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist at South Shore Medical Center and a member of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, told ABC News.

If you already take a pain med regularly for an unrelated condition, however, don’t stop doing so without a doctor’s consult. 

Read more: Why you have to wear a mask for a few months after you get your COVID-19 vaccine

After your vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends talking to your doctor before taking a pain reliever for discomfort. Alternative ways to ease sore arms include covering it with a cool, wet washcloth and keeping your arm active, it says. For a fever, drink plenty of liquids and dress lightly. 

Call your doctor, the CDC advises, if soreness and redness get worse after 24 hours or other “worrying” side effects don’t subside in a few days. Call 911 if you suspect you’re having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site. 

Limiting alcohol before and after your vaccine can also help it work its best 

The vaccine works by training your immune system to fight off invaders that look like the coronavirus, so it’s in your best interest to receive it with a system that’s in good shape. In other words, you want to put your best players in the game, not those on the injured list. 

In addition to avoiding painkillers, which again may suppress that wanted immune response, experts recommend limiting alcohol before and after getting the jab. One BBC report found that just three glasses of Prosecco was enough to decrease immune function.

Read more: What pregnant people need to know about coronavirus vaccine safety 

Other ways to support your immune system to both protect against the coronavirus and help the vaccine do its job include drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, managing stress, and eating a balanced diet. 

While you can’t boost your immune system overnight, following those practices for a few weeks can make a difference, Insider previously reported

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