Doing This After Your Vaccine Can Make Side Effects Worse, Doctors Say

You may have an even stronger reaction to the COVID vaccine if you do this.

As more and more Americans get their shots, people are feeling rightfully excited about all the things they'll be able to do safely once they're fully vaccinated against COVID. However, there are some things you should be cautious about doing after your shot—especially if you're concerned about side effects. Doctors warn that there is one activity you might want to do right after your vaccine that could actually make your side effects worse. Keep reading to find out what experts advise against, and for more on vaccine reactions, discover The Strange New COVID Vaccine Side Effect That's Confusing Even Doctors.

If you drink alcohol after your COVID vaccine, your side effects may feel worse.

Young handsome couple relaxing at home. They are toasting with beer. Sunday afternoon.
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It's normal to feel excited about your COVID vaccination, but if you're planning to have a celebratory drink right after your vaccine, you may want to wait. Tania Elliott, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, told Health that doing so could make any side effects you experience after the COVID vaccine feel worse. "Vaccine side effects include muscle aches and pains and feeling under the weather. Compounding that with the side effects of alcohol runs the risk of making you feel worse," she explained. After all, many symptoms of a hangover mirror potential side effects of the COVID vaccine, such as fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and nausea, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Drinking right after your vaccine could just heighten these negative side effects.

Jagadeesh Reddy, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Providence Mission Hospital, told Health he recommends abstaining or reducing alcohol intake for the first 48 to 72 hours after a vaccine dose, as this is when you'll likely experience any COVID vaccine side effects. According to Elliot, this is the time for you to be focusing "on rest and hydration." And for more on what to avoid, check out these 2 Things You Need to Stop Eating Before Your COVID Vaccine, New Study Says.

Experts also advise against drinking right before your COVID vaccine.

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Don't have a wild night drinking before your vaccine either. Experts warn that the same exact problem can occur if you're drinking right before your vaccination. "Drink water, not alcohol, before getting a vaccine," Katie Markley, MD, a primary care physician at UCHealth Primary Care Hilltop, wrote in a post for UCHealth. "Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration and a hangover. Do not place yourself in a position to be fighting a hangover and possible side effects." And for more on life after the shot, The CDC Says You Should Immediately Do This Once You've Been Vaccinated.

Alcohol could potentially increase your chances of an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

close up of bearded man drinking a glass of beer
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Blanka Kaplan, MD, a specialist in adult and pediatric allergy and immunology at Northwell Health in New York, told WebMD that there is a chance alcohol could potentially increase your chances of having an allergic reaction. "In some circumstances, alcohol can accelerate allergic reactions," Kaplan explained. "Since we do not yet know enough about the influence of alcohol on allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines, I recommend avoiding drinking alcohol for 24 hours before and after your vaccination." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

There is no evidence that alcohol affects your immune response from the vaccine, however.

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If you're not worried about possibly feeling even more miserable than expected for a few days after your vaccine, you may not need to abstain from alcohol afterwards. During the trial period for each vaccine, neither Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson asked participants to avoid alcohol, and none of the companies recorded any alcohol-related issues in relation to the vaccine. Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, told Prevention that there is currently "no evidence that alcohol reduces the formation of antibodies." With that in mind, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued any kind of guidance asking individuals to refrain from drinking alcohol before or after the COVID vaccine. And for more on preparing for the shot, find out The Only Medication You Should Take Before Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Say.

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Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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