Cara Cunningham, MINDI, Community Dietitian
The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is certainly gaining speed, and this brings with it hope that normality may return.
All adults are encouraged to sign up for their vaccine when it is their turn to do so. Vaccines have been shown to be effective without any special nutritional preparation, however, it simply makes sense to follow some basic guidelines that will help your body deal and minimise any possible side effects from the jab.
Vaccine side effects should go away within a few days; most of these symptoms are mild, and the great news is that the majority of people don’t get any side effects at all. Most common side effects can be a sore arm, tiredness, headache, fever, nauseous and loss of appetite.
The Centre for Disease control (CDC ) in America highlights that these symptoms are actually a good sign, that your body is building immunity and they should pass in a few days, if symptoms persist you should call your Doctor. By taking a few precautions you might be able to minimise these symptoms:
Don’t get the vaccine on an empty stomach: there is no need to fast before having your vaccine, it would be better actually if you had something to eat as having an empty stomach may make you more prone to dizziness and feeling faint.
Drink plenty of fluids: being well hydrated is good for your body and how it works. One of the main symptoms of dehydration is headaches and not being able to concentrate properly. So the basic advice is true – drink 8-10 cups of fluid per day.
A special word on alcohol, whilst there is no research that drinking alcohol will make the vaccine less effective. Remember alcohol can dehydrate you, it may be difficult to make out if you have a hangover or side effects of the vaccine. I know you may be relieved to get vaccine but it might be wise to hold off on the bubbly for a few days.
Some people may feel nauseous after getting the vaccine, it can be worth planning ahead, stock up on bland, easy to digest foods like soup, bananas, and melons. Ginger is good for nausea – so that could be ginger snap biscuits or ginger teas. If you lose your appetite, it is better to eat smaller meals and in between snacks.
The side effects of the vaccine in general resolve in a few days, it is important to seek advice from you Doctor if symptoms last longer than this. But in many ways the best side effect from your vaccine will be the feeling of relief that you will be protected from the worst effects of Covid-19. Further information on Covid vaccines: https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/get-the-vaccine/getting-your-vaccine/
For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact Maria at The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE CHO 8 (Midlands ) on (044 ) 9395518 or email [email protected].