How to reduce potential side effects from COVID-19 vaccine

Some possible side effects include soreness, fever, chills or body aches

A South Florida resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (WPLG)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is normal for people to experience side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Typically, what is happening in your body is you’re producing an immune response and that’s what we want,” explained Dr. Chirag Patel, the Assistant Chief Medical Officer at UF Health Jacksonville, to News 6 partner News4Jax. “It doesn’t mean if you don’t get side effects that you are not producing an immune response, but when you do, the typical reason for that is simply your body is working, your immune system is kicking into action.”

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According to the CDC, some of the possible side effects include soreness at the injection site, a fever, chills or body aches. Patel told News4Jax that side effects are being reported more frequently after people get their second dose.

“That is simply just because your immune system is already ramped up and it is ready to recognize something else foreign that is coming in,” Patel said. “So after you get your second shot in the series, it could be expected to have more side effects.”

To reduce potential side effects, Patel encouraged people to hydrate, get rest and avoid stress before getting the shot.

“One thing that is under-emphasized is avoiding stressors,” said Patel. “We have seen quite a few reactions or reported reactions due to people who have been very anxious or have had panic attacks because they are anticipating something bad is going to happen. Minimizing stressors leading up to your vaccine, making sure your well-rested leading up to your vaccine is going to help put your mind at ease the morning of or the day of your vaccine.”

If you experience soreness in your arm after getting the shot, Patel said to put ice or a cold washcloth on your arm, gently massage the area or perform light arm exercises. The CDC said side effects should only last a few days.

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