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Can I take painkillers before or after a COVID-19 vaccine?

The do’s and don’ts of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
How to deal with possible side effects after receiving the vaccine.
How to deal with possible side effects after receiving the vaccine.(NBC)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:25 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -More than 48,000 people a day are being vaccinated against COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

“First of all, you don’t know if you’re actually going to experience any of those—you know we call them great effects—or some people call them side effects that soreness in your arm, that tiredness, that headache,” says Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea Health.

Dr. Rai says first order of business when it comes to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is not pretreating with over-the-counter medication.

“It can actually mute or prevent that good immune response that we’re looking for,” says Dr. Rai.

After you get the shot Dr. Rai says you’ve got the green light to address any pain or discomfort.

“Say its 24 hours into it and you still have a headache; at that point it’s okay to take something over-the-counter such as something that contains acetaminophen like Tylenol or ibuprofen like Advil.

Regardless of which vaccine you receive....

“Regarding the side effect or local reaction, we would still treat them as more or less similar,” says Dr. Vismay Brahmbhatt with Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Dr. Brahmbhatt specializes in family medicine. He says vaccines are designed to elicit an immune response.

“It does that by triggering inflammation, where you get the injection itself,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt.

If you do experience discomfort it means the vaccine is working.

“Side effects are a really good sign, that means your body is having a good, robust immune response to the vaccine and they will go away, we know they do,” says Dr. Rai.

More than 20% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, over 3 million shots have been administered and eligibility is open to anyone 16 and older.

“Go get it, talk to your primary care doctor and if you still have any questions or doubts, but I think that’s the way to go if you want to get back to normal life, as before,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt.

One shot and a step in the right direction.

Dr. Rai says if you are experiencing lingering side effects past seven days, to contact your doctor and the CDC recommends people talk to their doctors about which over-the-counter medication may be best for you.

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