The Only Medication You Should Take Before Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Say

There's no need to skip this medication the day of your vaccination.

More than 46 million people across the nation have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Mar. 24. But with approximately 282 million Americans to go, many people are still questioning what to do in the hours, or days, leading up to their appointment. In addition to bringing documents as proof of eligibility (if your state requires them), proof of appointment, and of course, staying hydrated and getting rest, there are a few other guidelines to remember. You've probably heard that trying to stave off any aches or pains with Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin pre-vaccination isn't advisable, but there's one type of medication doctors say is important to take on the day of your COVID vaccine.

Read on to learn more about what doctors are urging patients to continue taking, and for other essential coronavirus news, check out This OTC Medicine May Keep You Safer From COVID, New Study Says.

Any medication you take on a daily basis should still be taken the day you get the COVID vaccine.

Cropped shot of a young woman taking medication at home

Frank McGeorge, MD, a medical expert for local Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV Local 4, revealed the dos and don'ts for prepping for your COVID vaccination. At the top of the doctor's list, published on the news outlet's website, he noted that having something to eat and maintaining hydration was key, along with continuing to take any medicine that you take on a daily basis. "Don't skip your usual medications on the day of your vaccination," McGeorge wrote.

The CDC also advises that you shouldn't "avoid, discontinue, or delay medications for underlying medical conditions around the time of COVID-19 vaccination."

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The COVID vaccine clinical trials included people who take medication for many common conditions.

woman holding asthma inhaler, school nurse secrets

People who take medication for asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, and other chronic health issues don't need to worry about changing up their routines ahead of the COVID vaccine, as family physician Neha Vyas, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic. "The studies for the vaccines were done with a number of people who had many of these common conditions," Vyas explained. "The good news is that they responded well to the vaccines. So, don't change any of your regular medications."

And for the side effects you should prepare for, check out The One Side Effect That's Much More Common With Pfizer, Data Shows.

But you should avoid medication that's not part of your regular routine.

ibuprofen painkiller painkillers

In regards to which medications you should avoid, the CDC says "it is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen, before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects. It is not known how these medications may affect how well the vaccine works. … It is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions."

There is, however, an exception to that rule. "If you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated," the CDC states.

McGeorge adds that due to the advice being based on a hypothetical, no one needs to worry if they take these types of medications prior to their COVID vaccine—it's simply a recommendation.

But something else that should be avoided is steroid injections, unless the situation is critical, Vyas told Cleveland Clinic. "Say you're considering a steroid injection in your back. You'll want to wait about two weeks after you get your COVID-19 vaccine before doing so," she said, adding that you should weigh the risks against the benefits. "If you are in excruciating pain and you can't walk—and you can be at risk for getting a blood clot if you don't walk—then get the steroid injection."

And for more on what not to do before your vaccine, check out Don't Do This the Night Before Your Vaccine Appointment, Experts Say.

And if you have allergies, make sure to tell staffers at the COVID vaccination site.

Shot of a young man and woman blowing their noses with tissue at home

If you're one of the 50 million Americans who have allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, you should tell staffers at the COVID vaccination site. According to a Mar. 4 update from the CDC, the agency suggests "people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies." The same goes for people who have a history of severe allergic reactions or have a history of allergies to oral medications, the CDC explains.

For those with a history of a severe immediate allergic reaction to another vaccine, a contraindication to a different type of COVID-19 vaccine, or a history of anaphylaxis due to any cause, expect to be observed for 30 minutes after you get your shot. For anyone not in those three categories, a 15-minute observation period will be implemented, after which, you'll be one step closer to building immunity to COVID-19.

And if you're wondering what the future holds for the COVID jab, check out Moderna CEO Says This Is How Often You'll Need a COVID Vaccine.

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