Is it okay if I use pain relievers before or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
They shouldn’t be used before a shot to prevent symptoms, but if your doctor agrees, you can use them later if necessary.
Painkillers are a source of concern since they may suppress the immunological response that a vaccine is designed to elicit. Vaccines operate by convincing the body that it is infected with a virus so that it can create a defense against it. This may result in brief arm discomfort, fever, muscular aches, or other inflammatory symptoms, all of which are signals that the vaccination is working.
According to several studies, medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and other brands) may reduce the immune system’s reaction. According to a mouse study, these medications may reduce the formation of antibodies, which prevent the virus from invading cells.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, other study has revealed that painkillers may reduce the reaction to several childhood immunizations, therefore many physicians recommend that parents avoid giving their children the medicines before the shot and only if necessary thereafter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently amended its recommendations to advise against taking opioids before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It says you can take them later for symptoms if you don’t have any other medical issues that prevent you from doing so, but you should consult your doctor beforehand.
If you’re already taking one of those medications for a health problem, don’t stop taking it before getting the vaccine, according to Jonathan Watanabe, a pharmacist at the University of California, Irvine.
He said that acetaminophen (Tylenol) is superior than other medicines for relieving symptoms after a injection because it works in a different way.
“Take some acetaminophen if you have a response and need something,” Schaffner said. He went on to say that the immunological response elicited by the vaccines is robust enough that any painkiller effect will be minor and won’t jeopardize the doses.
Other suggestions from the CDC include placing a cool, moist towel over the injection site and exercising that arm. Drink plenty of drinks and dress lightly if you have a fever. The CDC advises calling your doctor if arm redness or pain persists after a day or if adverse symptoms do not improve after a few days.
In this series, the Associated Press answers your questions about the coronavirus. Please send them to FactCheck@AP.org. Further information can be found here:
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