Millions of people around the world are opting for the COVID-19 vaccine, and I am getting more and more questions about it through my website and social media. Today, I’d like to offer tips and remedies in regards to this. I’d like to make one thing clear, this article is not a statement about whether you should receive the vaccine, or not. That is entirely up to you. Speak to your practitioner about what is right for you. The vaccines are approved for Emergency Use Authorization in certain people, they are not yet FDA approved for mass distribution.
My article is intended to help those of you who do opt to get it, and then suffer with post-vaccination discomfort. If you are interested in using essential oils to help reduce these, and other symptoms, read my article, 12 Ways to Winterize Your Body. This article covers natural options for insomnia, headache, dehydration, respiratory infections, heart problems and much more. Here are more conventional remedies to help yourself:
Make sure they inject it properly.
This first tip is tricky because no health care professional wants to be told what to do, however, if the vaccine gets injected into the wrong part, it will cause you more pain so you need to watch what they’re doing and speak up if necessary. You’ve probably seen people on TV getting vaccinated, but if the skin is pinched as the needle is injected, it could cause the vaccine to get placed into the fatty tissue right underneath your skin, instead of the muscle where it’s supposed to be. In other words, they don’t need to be pinching your deltoid muscle.
Pain at the site of injection.
This is a very common occurrence. If you have ever received a shot in your arm, you already know how the surrounding muscles feels sore for up to a week. The reaction may be immediate, or slightly delayed. If it is pinkish-red, you can apply some hydrocortisone to the area to help reduce that. Some experts suggest an antihistamine if the redness and heat is too much, in which case, something like Benadryl (at night because it is sedating) would be useful, or Claritin (during the day so you can still function cognitively). You do not take both medications, you choose one or the other based upon side effects I’ve listed in parenthesis.
You may take over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) if you need to. There are some subtle differences between those two medications that you should be aware of. Please be sure to read the precautions for each medication to know which is right for you. These medications are useful to relieve minor aches and pains. Currently, it is advised not to take them in advance of the shot, as doing so may impact your immune system response to the vaccine. In other words, the current guidelines state that you should not pre-treat yourself with these analgesics. The rationale is unclear, however, some research done on children back in 2016 proved that taking antipyretics such as acetaminophen lowered the immune response to the vaccine, so again, these drugs would be useful after the fact, not as a prophylactic. As for natural options, boswellia or turmeric might be useful here due to their ability to work the same metabolic pathways as the drugs. Still not sure which is better for you? Read my article, Which is Better, Advil or Tylenol?
Swelling at the site of injection.
The fastest remedy for this is to put a cold pack on your arm for about 5 – 10 minutes. You can repeat the application every few hours. Another trick is to try a warm compress (ie soak a towel in very warm water, and wring it out). You could even alternate with an ice pack and then a warm compress. OTC analgesics like those listed above could be handy for this problem as well.
If you have castor oil handy, you could always apply a castor oil pack to this area to bring immediate soothing. Just make sure to keep the castor oil warm, not hot. Read my article, Castor Oil is a Comfy Alternative to Pain Meds.
Body pain and aches or fever.
In most cases, mild discomfort in the body, or fever is quite normal. You may take OTC analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the aches/pain and fever. This side effect should only last a few days. If it becomes serious, contact your healthcare provider. If it’s mild, give yourself a sponge bath with lukewarm water and epsom salts. Get into bed with lighter pajamas and drink plenty of cool water.
Sensitivity to the first shot.
If you have a severe reaction to the first shot, then you need to contact your physician for more instructions, and cancel your second shot if scheduled. If an antihistamine is needed for an allergic rash, consider Benadryl at night. Natural antihistamines include quercetin, vitamin C or stinging nettle tea.
Thrombocytopenia characterized by easy bruising.
Autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid sometimes lead to this condition of thrombocytopenia, where the platelets are attacked and destroyed. It is a blood condition that many people deal with on a daily basis, and the condition can worsen post-vaccination in rare instances. Thrombocytopenia is something one can easily test for by the way.
In regards to the vaccines, there are several dozen reports of people (without autoimmune disorders) suddenly developing thrombocytopenia. It is unusual, however, it can be dangerous if left untreated, so I want you to know what the symptoms are just in case you develop it. The symptoms are pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for. Again, if left untreated, the condition of thrombocytopenia can (and has) led to hospitalizations. A well-known Florida physician passed away of this exact complication last January.
Signs & Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia:
Lots of bruises all over
Blisters in your mouth bleeding
Superficial bleeding – it looks like a rash on the lower legs
Tarry or black stools
Blood in the urine
Open cuts start bleeding
Ways to Lower Risk for Thrombocytopenia
Ways to minimize the risk of thrombocytopenia should be considered if you’re worried about this, and headed to get vaccinated. Avoid drinking alcohol and avoid contact with toxic chemicals like pesticides, glues and paints. If you’re worried about additive platelet inhibition from the vaccine and your medication, then you should talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s okay to discontinue your medications that reduce aggregation for a few days prior to the shot. Perhaps that is an option for some people but not all. I’m referring to the platelet inhibitors such as Ticlopidine, Clopidogrel and others as well as ginger and fish oils.
If you already deal with thrombocytopenia, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your other options for platelet inhibition, as well as vaccine choices and whether or not this is the right time for you. As for remedies, there aren’t really any, this would require immediate medical treatment at an Emergency Room. The side effect has been associated with both vaccines currently available.
If you have to wait to get your vaccination, and you are interested in ways to support immune function, you will like these 2 articles:
Getting a vaccine is entirely up to you. Sometimes people ask me where they should go. If you are trying to find out WHERE you can get a vaccination, this is a link for you where you type in your zip code and it will find locations nearby.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.