Why Does It Happen
Dr. Little explains that COVID arm is an immune reaction to a component of the vaccine. However, experts still aren’t sure which component it is reacting to. “The reaction is most likely caused by the T-cells in the immune system, which may take several days to initially get activated, but can respond to the same trigger more quickly the second time around,” she says. Because vaccines are supposed to activate the immune system, “it’s possible the condition may be related to the immune response we are trying to generate to the COVID spike protein, or it may be an immune response that is not directly related to developing immunity to COVID,” she continues.
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According to the CDC, the rashes can start within a few days to more than a week after the first shot and “are sometimes quite large.”
“If you experience ‘COVID arm’ after getting the first shot,;you should still get the second shot;at the recommended interval if the vaccine you got needs a second shot,” the CDC noted. “Tell your vaccination provider that you experienced a rash or ‘COVID arm’ after the first shot. Your vaccination provider may recommend that you get the second shot in the opposite arm.”
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said such side effects have not yet raised concern.
“What has been interesting, I think, is that this has really raised some awareness for wanting to make sure that we’re asking questions,” she said during a Facebook Live Thursday.
“I’m glad that people are looking at it, but I don’t want people to feel like there’s something dangerous about it that we’ve not detected,” Arwady added.
According to a report in the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the skin reactions have been seen “predominantly from the Moderna vaccine.”
Mowad also noted that the reaction has been seen commonly in women.
So what can you do if you get it?
The CDC said those who experience COVID arm can take an antihistamine.
“If it is painful, you can take a pain medication like acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ,” the CDC recommends.
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Why Is My Arm Sore After Getting The Covid Vaccine
Getting vaccinated is all about waking your immune system up to take on a virus, says Dr. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine at Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic. “As your immune system is activated, there is a transient release of inflammatory mediators that can lead to symptoms such as soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site or of the adjacent lymph nodes as well as fever, muscle aches, and headache,” he explains.
Regardless of which arm you get your COVID vaccine in, you might well experience an achy injection site. But especially if you’re getting the COVID vaccine even though you’re scared of needles, it’s important to know that the soreness won’t last long.
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What Should You Do If You Experience Covid Arm
Per Dr. Little, COVID vaccine arm is NOT something to be worried about. “People who experience COVID arm can and should get their second dose of vaccine,” she affirms. However, it may help to get the second dose in the opposite arm, and if the rash is very itchy or tender, it may help to use topical steroids like hydrocortisone or to speak with your doctor.;
Why Can Exercising Your Arm After The Vaccine Help Reduce Soreness
It all comes down to stretching out the surrounding arm muscles. For the same reason that you would stretch or move any muscle thats sore, say, after a tough workout, exercising or moving the arm around can help promote blood flow to the area and thus reduce the soreness or pain, says Dr. Sulapas.
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Managing Side Effects After Covid
If you do feel less-than-great after your shot, here are some suggestions:
- If your arm hurts, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth to the spot where you received the shot. Moving the arm around can also ease the ache.
- If youre feverish, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can ease any aches or pains.;
- If side effects dont go away within a few days or are really worrying you, call your doctor.;
In some sense, side effects are good, says Dr. Phillips. The vaccine is causing your body to have the same reaction as it would to the actual virus, but without the risk of the complications that come with being sick. And when its over, your body knows how to fight the virus if it ever sees it again.;
First Why Does Your Arm Get Sore After The Covid
Arm soreness isnt unique to the COVID-19 vaccinethe side effect can also occur with other vaccines, like the flu shot, says Irvin Sulapas, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
However, the COVID-19 vaccine does get injected into the muscle in your armthe deltoid muscle, if you want to get specific. The hiccup here is that the injection can cause tiny tears in the muscle, says Jamie Alan, Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at Michigan State University. This can cause inflammation in the area around the shot, leading to mild pain, soreness, or tenderness for a day or two.
Your armand other parts of your bodycan also get sore because your immune system is doing what it should be doing: reacting to the vaccine, says Aline M. Holmes, D.N.P., R.N., clinical associate professor at the Rutgers University School of Nursing in New Jersey. These vaccines essentially trick your body into thinking its being exposed to the , so your immune system sends out infection-fighting cells to attack the perceived threat, and that can lead to flu-like symptoms.
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Helpful Tips To Relieve Side Effects
Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.
It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.
Ways To Handle Covid Vaccine Arm Pain
Covid vaccine arm pain is one of the most common side effects that we hear about. In fact, some patients are so nervous about the discomfort that they are delaying their vaccine appointments! But while the thought of pain can be scary, its no reason to put off getting your shot. In this article, well give you 5 easy ways to manage covid vaccine arm pain.
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How To Treat A Sore Arm After Vaccination
Although a sore arm after COVID shots is temporary, there are a few things you can do at home to help treat a sore arm after your vaccine:;
- Use a cold compress on the injection site
- Move your arm around frequently throughout the day
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil and Tylenol if approved by your provider;
- Use antihistamines such as Benadryl if you experience itchiness
Unless you have a health condition that prevents you from taking certain OTC pain relievers, such as a bleeding condition or liver or kidney problems, you may find relief from arm soreness as well as certain other vaccine side effects such as headache or fatigue.;
However, you want to avoid taking OTC pain medications before your vaccine in anticipation of side effects. While it may decrease your arm soreness, the local inflammation is beneficial to the development of a vigorous immune response and anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce this beneficial response, Dr. Anderson explains.;
Why Your Arm Might Be Sore After Getting A Vaccine
Pain and rashes are normal responses to foreign substances being injected into our bodies. But how much pain you experience after a shot depends on a lot of factors.
For most COVID-19 vaccine recipients, the poke of the needle is no big deal. In the hours afterwards, however, many go on to develop sore arms, according to anecdotal reports and published data.
That common side effect is not unique to COVID-19 vaccines. But as the United States undergoes its first mass vaccination campaign in recent memory, the widespread prevalence of arm pain is sparking questions about why certain shots hurt so much, why some people feel more pain than others, and why some dont feel any pain at all.
The good news, experts say, is that arm pain and even rashes are normal responses to the injection of foreign substances into our bodies. Getting that reaction at the site is exactly what we would expect a vaccine to do that is trying to mimic a pathogen without causing the disease, says Deborah Fuller, a vaccinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle.
Given the many intricacies of the immune system and individual quirks, not feeling pain is normal, too, says William Moss, an epidemiologist and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. People can develop protective immune responses and not have any of that kind of local reaction, he says.
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Swollen Lymph Nodes: What You Need To Know
A COVID-19 vaccine can cause enlarged lymph nodes in your armpit or near your collarbone on the side of your body where you received the injection.;
Why does this happen? The lymphatic system is home to your immune system; so when you get checked out for a cold or strep throat or flu, your doctor will feel your neck area. If he or she finds swollen lymph nodes, it means the body is mounting a response to an infection, explains Dr. Roy.;
The COVID-19 vaccination is given in the arm and the closest lymph nodes are the ones under your arm, so that is where the reaction is occurring, she says. Its completely normal. Its your immune system reacting to the vaccine, as it should.;
The enlarged lymph nodes may feel like a lump and be a little tender, or you may not notice them at all, Dr. Roy adds. They generally appear within a few days of the vaccination and you can feel them for up to 10 daysand they may be visible on imaging tests for up to a month, she says. If you can still feel them more than two weeks after your shot, call your doctor, she advises.;
The swelling in the armpit was a recognized side effect in the large trials of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. According to The New York Times, in Modernas study, “11.6% of patients reported swollen lymph nodes after the first dose, and 16% after the second dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seems to have a lower incidence, with 0.3% of patients reporting it.”
First A Recap On How Your Lymph System Works
Your body has a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes that’s part of your immune system. The lymph system collects fluid, waste material, and other things like viruses and bacteria that are in your tissues outside of your bloodstream, the American Cancer Society explains.
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The lymph vessels are similar to your blood vessels, but carry a clear, watery fluid called lymph instead of blood. Lymph fluid can do a few different things, but one important function is its ability to fight infections through the use of white blood cells that it carries. Your lymph nodes are small structures that work as filters for harmful substances, and they contain immune cells that help you fight infections, the ACS says.
When you have an infection, injury, or cancer, the node in that area may swell or enlarge as it tries to filter out the bad cells. And, while lymph node swelling is usually a sign of an infection, it can also signal cancer in that area, the ACS says.
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What causes the sore arm?
The COVID-19 vaccines are given via intramuscular injections. This means it is directly injected into the arm muscle. Generally, its the deltoid muscle which is the large muscle giving helping the shoulder with its range of motion.
The vaccine triggers inflammation at the site where the shot is administered. This suggests your immunity is being activated. The site of needle insertion is also an injury spot, although a tiny one.
Our bodies fight off infections using a variety of mechanisms. Our immunity tries to break down bacteria, viruses and dead cells. It produces antibodies that then attack the debris left behind after the break down. pieces of the virus left behind by the macrophages. Our immunity also attacks our own cells that have been infected.
What the vaccines do is they trick the immune system. Our body thinks there is a real virus which it needs to quickly remove. Experts explain the soreness in the arm with the analogy of a battlefield.
The arm is the site of a full-fledged war between our white blood cells and the vaccines immunity activating components.
How long will the soreness last?
It can take a few days for your bodys reaction to the jab to calm down. This is the reason some may experience soreness in their arm for some time. Similarly, the pain from the tiny injury might also take a while to go away.
Longer And Safer Training Sessions
Muscle is a bit of a Goldilocks tissue for doling out vaccines to our immune cells: not too slow, but not too fast either.
As well as providing a ready pool of dendritic cells, muscle acts as a “deposit”, where the vaccine can linger a while and be used over a longer period.
This allows for an extended immune system training session, Dr Groom says, which “is thought to result in maximal activation of the immune system”.
A vaccine injected directly into the bloodstream, on the other hand, is vulnerable to destruction.
“There are other nonspecific immune cells that can mop up the vaccine and degrade it before it has the opportunity to get to the lymph node,” Dr Groom says.
“Then it doesn’t have the opportunity for this information to be shared with B and T cells.”
As well as being easier to do, injecting vaccines into muscle also has very few severe side effects, and overall invokes less inflammation than a vaccine in a vein.
Most vaccines comprise two parts: the virus-specific antigen portion and a substance that creates a stronger immune response called an adjuvant.
“Adjuvants can sometimes lead to overall inflammation, more so via an intravenous route than when it’s in the tissue,” Dr Groom says.
“Muscle helps localise any adverse reactions and minimise them, so it’s safer.”
Dr Groom says while common side effects of intramuscular vaccination may be a literal pain for a few days, they’re a sign that your immune system is doing what it should.
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When Should I Be Concerned About Post
While some levels of stiffness and pain are to be expected after you get vaccinated, Dr. Jain says that it shouldn’t last for more than 24 to 48 hours. The symptoms might be more intense after the second COVID vaccine injection, he explains, but soreness in and of itself isn’t a red flag. It’s not specific to COVID vaccinations, either â Dr. Jain tells Bustle that your arm is likely to get sore after most vaccine shots.
But again, it’s nothing to worry about if it remains a matter of soreness. Some other post-vaccine symptoms are more worrisome. “If you experience any signs of anaphylaxis, facial swelling, numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes, or intractable nausea and vomiting, you should immediately seek medical help, as these are signs of a serious adverse event,” Dr. Jain advises.
When To Call The Doctor
In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
- If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
- If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more aboutÂ;COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
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Possible Side Effects After Getting A Covid
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months after the final dose.