Vaccines hurt. And in today’s environment of killing the hurt before it hits, there are many people who take precautions if they can. So is it okay for people to take ibuprofen or aspirin before or after the COVID vaccine?
Unless you take a pain reliever as a regular regimen to prevent disease, it might be best to avoid painkillers a few days before taking the vaccine. Experts are worried that taking over the counter painkillers pose a risk of interfering with the vaccine’s ability to ramp up your immune system.
The vaccine has painful side effects and it will potentially reduce the effectiveness if you try to get ahead of the pain by taking an NSAID medication – these include ibuprofen Motrin, Advil, and aspirin. Consider the muscle soreness, fever, headache, and arm soreness a sign that your immune system is getting amped up to do what it’s supposed to do – earn you protection.
A study on mice in the Journal of Virology found that with other vaccines, taking pain relievers curbed the immune response by lowering the production of antibodies that would prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells.
Jonathan Watanabe, a pharmacist at the University of California, Irvine, stated, “If you are already taking one of those medications for a health condition, you should not stop before you get a vaccine—at least not without asking your doctor.”
However, if you absolutely must, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) because, as Watanabe added, “It doesn’t alter your immune response.”
The CDC asks everyone who receives a vaccine to call your doctor if the tenderness in the arm increases after one day or does not go away at all. You can also hold a cool, wet washcloth over the shot area and exercise the arm to help with the pain. Remember to drink lots of fluids and if you have a fever, dress lightly.