BOSTON (CBS) – As more people become eligible to sign up for the coronavirus vaccine, there are a some questions about what to do before getting the shot. Dr. Mallika Marshall shares some advice.
Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.
Take a couple days off of work?
If you can, take your vaccine day off and perhaps the next day, too. That’s because the vaccines can cause some side effects like headache, body aches, nausea, chills and fever. This is more common after the second dose and many people don’t have any side effects at all. But if you can take a couple of days off, you won’t have to worry about calling in sick if you’re not feeling great.
Should you get a good night sleep before?
Yes, get some rest. Good sleep can help boost the immune system.
What about taking vitamins?
I do think people who may be deficient in vitamin D should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, in consultation with your doctor. But I don’t think you need to take any special vitamins leading up to your vaccination appointment to boost your immune system.
Anything special you should wear the day you get the vaccine?
You want to wear a top that will allow easy access to your upper arm; so maybe a short-sleeved shirt or a loose sweater that you can pull up over your shoulder.
Should you eat or drink before your appointment?
You should stay well hydrated and try to eat a little something beforehand so you don’t get lightheaded. Some people develop nausea after the vaccine so eat something bland and easy to digest. And don’t drink alcohol the night before which can cause dehydration and hangover symptoms.
Some people wonder if you should premedicate with Tylenol, ibuprofen, or Benadryl beforehand.
No. You do not need to take pain medication or allergy medication before your vaccine. In fact, the CDC discourages people from taking over-the-counter pain medications because it might blunt your immune response to the vaccine. If you’re normally on these medications on a daily basis, you can continue to take them.
Does it matter which arm you get the shot in?
It’s your personal preference. Most people choose their non-dominant arm but it doesn’t really matter.
What will happen after you get the injection?
You’ll be surprised how quick the process is once you sit down. And the injection doesn’t feel any different than the annual flu shot. You will be asked to wait around for about 15 minutes to monitor for any reactions. If you’re feeling fine, you can go home.
What happens if you do start to feel sick after getting the vaccine?
If you develop some of the side effects remember, it’s just your immune system doing its job; getting ready to combat the virus. You can’t get COVID from the vaccines. And the symptoms usually resolve within 36 hours. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and rest. However, if you develop hives, trouble breathing or lightheadedness, you should get to an ER right away.