Toms River Pharmacist shares ways you can alleviate vaccine side effects
Covid-19 metrics are heading in a healthier, positive direction but it's not time to begin the victory parade down Main Street just yet.
Health officials are still stressing the importance of everyone getting vaccinated, and on that note, both vaccination doses, not just one and skipping the second dose.
Whether those on the fence are skeptical or fearful, there are people all over who can help answer your questions so you can feel comfortable getting vaccinated.
Sharif Elmenchawy, a Pharmacist at Cure-Rx on Mule Road in Toms River, has some ways to calm your fears, alleviate any side effects and also explains what happens when you don't get both vaccination doses of Moderna or Pfizer.
"There have been a lot of people who have had a lot of questions. They're worried about possible side effects, adverse reactions, interactions with current disease states or medications so I urge anybody to check with your doctor or you can check with your pharmacist to make sure that this vaccine safe as it is and they've typically been extremely safe and we recommend that anybody who can, should get the vaccine to help us all fight this battle," Elmenchawy tells Townsquare Media News.
Whether it's after the first shot or especially the 2nd shot where you are experiencing side effects from getting a vaccine dose, there's a few things you can do to help yourself out.
"There are side effects, which are kind of expected from all vaccinations, and then there's adverse reactions. Side effects are typically similar so with the Covid vaccines, whether it's Moderna or Pfizer of Johnson and Johnson, the common side effects are injection site reactions so a little bit of pain, swelling, a little soreness in the arm and typically it's not too severe and should resolve within a day or two on its own," Elmenchawy said. "I tell patients that if it's cumbersome and starts to get annoying, you can put a wet, damp cloth on it, you can ice it 20 on, 20 minutes off and most of the time you can medicate with Tylenol as long as that's not something that's conflicting with any of your medications."
When in doubt or if one of these remedies isn't working, followup with a call to your doctor or pharmacist about possible next steps to treat side effects and especially if there is an adverse reaction such as anaphylactic shock or CVST.
"These adverse reactions are extremely rare," Elmenchawy said.
If you are in a lot of pain or really don't feel good, call your doctor.
If you're experiencing side effects from the shots, you can also call your doctor or pharmacist if you're not sure what to take to alleviate symptoms and there are certain medicines to stay away from during the vaccination process.
At the same time, what works for some people may not work for others in terms of treatment and alleviating symptoms.
"It's very specific to patients. There are certain patients depending on their disease states or medication that they're on should stay away from NSAIDs, anti-inflammatories, aspirins, blood thinners...so the regime should be tapered individually," Elmenchawy said.
As a result of reports of people reacting poorly mixed with the reports on the effectiveness and safety of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, certain people have skipped out on getting their second dose of any of the vaccines all together.
"If you received the first dose of a two dose vaccine, which is currently either Moderna or Pfizer, you're not fully vaccinated and you're not fully vaccinated until two weeks after completion of the second dose," Elmenchawy said. "The chances are that if you got the first dose and you did not have any severe side effects, adverse reactions, anaphylactic allergic reaction, then it's probably not going to happen with the second dose because it's the same shot given twice."
You learn more about vaccines, vaccine side effects and how to try and alleviate them in the video below.