Experts warn: don’t get boosted before you do!

Experts warn: Don’t get vaccinated unprepared! Make sure you are prepared before your next COVID vaccination! Here are some important tips about what to eat, but also what to take before the vaccination.

Boosting or not, you need to know now!

Millions of people have already received a COVID booster shot, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only some people are currently eligible for an additional vaccination, as both the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are still deliberating whether to approve a third dose; in Germany, a recommendation is just being prepared for everyone 18 and older! However, several states, including New York, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arkansas, have recently bypassed these authorities and are already recommending that health care providers in these states administer an additional vaccination to everyone over the age of 18, making millions more residents eligible for a booster shot. However, if you plan on getting your booster shot soon, you need to make sure you are well prepared for your appointment – this is something to keep in mind!

This is what you shouldn’t do before boosters!

Major pharmacies have recently been telling people who are scheduling booster shots to make sure they drink water beforehand. “Be sure to eat a nutritious meal and drink water before your appointment to reduce any side effects on the day of your vaccination,” Rite Aid’s guidelines state. CVS, too, advises in a reminder email sent before the appointment to “drink at least 250ml of water at least one hour before your appointment to avoid side effects,” Health says. But that’s not all.

According to the CDC, reactions reported after the booster vaccination were similar to the second vaccination in a two-dose series or the single vaccination in a one-dose series. The most common side effects of the booster shot were fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site.

Doesn’t the advice help after all?

However, other experts warn that drinking a glass of water may not actually prevent side effects. “There is no specific data to suggest that drinking 16 ounces of water, or anything else for that matter, in any way … specifically improves side effects,” William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Health.

Instead, experts point out that a lack of hydration before your booster shot can make you feel even worse. “Being dehydrated increases your risk of feeling sick or fainting when you’re dealing with the side effects of the vaccine,” Amesh Adalja, MD, a senior scientist at the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, told NPR. “Don’t take a vaccine or booster shot after you’ve run a marathon and become dehydrated.” Medications can be harmful, too!

Some cases of fainting!

Matt Blanchette, a spokesman for CVS, told Health that this is the real reason the pharmacy started warning people to drink a glass of water before coming to their appointment. “We added the recommendation to drink water to our reminders about vaccination appointments in April because we have seen some cases of fainting when administering a COVID-19 vaccine,” Blanchette explained.

He added, “Increasing intravascular volume through hydration may help prevent vasovagal syncope, which can lead to fainting. The CDC has also identified fainting after vaccination as a concern.”

One might be tempted to pre-empt the side effects by other means before vaccination, especially if one has already experienced unpleasant reactions during the first or second vaccination. However, experts specifically warn against taking over-the-counter painkillers before the first vaccination or booster shot.

Do not take over-the-counter medications

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“It is not recommended to take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen before vaccination to avoid vaccine side effects,” the CDC said. “It is not known how these medications may affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, if you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should continue taking them before vaccination. It’s also not recommended to take antihistamines before a COVID-19 vaccination to avoid allergic reactions.”

As GoodRx Health explains, there are no specific studies yet on how over-the-counter medications might affect the immune system’s response to the COVID vaccine or booster shot. However, with other vaccines, studies have shown that certain pain medications can cause a weaker response to the vaccine, potentially making the vaccination less effective.

Fortunately, drinking water doesn’t affect the effectiveness of the vaccine – so it’s a safe way to ease discomfort without compromising the effectiveness of the booster shot. “It does not, however, affect the immune system’s response to the vaccine,” Dr. Suellen Hopfer, assistant professor of health, society and behavior at the University of California, told NPR.

Thomas Russo, MD, professor and head of the department of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo, added in an op-ed for Health that it can’t hurt to drink plenty of water before your booster shot, so you should drink more before your appointment to be on the safe side.