Medical City Healthcare - September 15, 2021

With nearly 54% of the population fully vaccinated as of mid-September, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, we still have a long way to go to get everyone protected. According to Texas Health and Human Services, people who are 12 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The shots are available in a variety of places, which can be found on Vaccines.gov.

If you’ve already had and recovered from COVID-19, you may still want to consider getting vaccinated. Emerging evidence shows that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated. In fact, the CDC cites one study showing that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than two times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.

While getting the shot is pretty straightforward, you may have questions about how to alleviate potential side effects or whether you can get a mammogram after your shot. You should always talk with your doctor about your specific health concerns, but the CDC offers general recommendations for how to make your COVID-19 vaccine experience the best possible.

If you are getting a COVID vaccination, here are 5 things not to do.

Before getting your shot:

  • Resist the urge to take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. Taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin right before your COVID-19 shot as a preventive measure against possible side effects such as fever, headaches or muscle pain may lessen its effectiveness. These anti-inflammatory medications could interfere with the ability of the vaccine to give you the most robust response.

The exception: The CDC is clear that if you regularly take any of these OTC medications for other health reasons, you should continue taking them before you get vaccinated or ask your doctor to provide guidance. The same holds true for all prescription medications you are on. If you’re unsure about any of them, talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated.

To help relieve some of the common side effects of the vaccination, try a cold compress on the shot site and drink plenty of fluids. After a few hours have passed and your body has begun initiating an immune response, taking an OTC pain reliever/fever reducer for any side effects should be fine.

  • Skip your allergy medication. The CDC recommends that you hold off on taking antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccination to try to help minimize the risk for an allergic reaction.
  • Wait 90 days if you’ve been treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. If you had COVID-19 and were treated with either of these two therapies, the CDC recommends waiting 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re unsure about what treatments you may have received or have other questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk with your doctor.
  • Don’t get dermal fillers right before or after. According to the CDC, people who have received dermal fillers may experience swelling at or near the site of their filler injection following a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. That doesn’t mean that if you’ve ever had a dermal filler you can’t get vaccinated; the CDC says that COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to people who have received injectable dermal fillers who have no contraindications or precautions for vaccination. If you experience any swelling at or near a dermal filler site following your vaccination, contact your healthcare provider.

After getting your shot:

  • Check with your doctor before scheduling a mammogram. According to the experts at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, a small population of people who receive a COVID-19 vaccination may experience swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes in the armpit, also known as axillary lymph node swelling or lymphadenopathy. These are normal and predictable signs that the body is building immunities against COVID-19, but it’s possible that they could cause a false mammogram reading. If you know that your mammogram is scheduled to happen within a few weeks of your vaccination, talk with your doctor about optimal timing. Sarah Cannon also suggests speaking with your doctor if you are experiencing any other side effects that may impact your screening.

Getting medical care during the pandemic.

Many people avoided the ER and canceled preventive healthcare appointments and scheduled surgeries and procedures (such as joint replacement or colonoscopies) during the pandemic. We want to remind you that COVID-19 should never delay emergency care and that it’s both safe and necessary to keep up with your well-woman visits, screenings and scheduled surgeries and procedures. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Hub for more information.

Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services for adults and children across North Texas.

At Medical City Healthcare, we're dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you'll Take Care!

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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This blog was originally published on 4/15/2021 and updated on 9/15/2021.