How to Deal With the Side Effects of the COVID Vaccine

I am not a medical professional, this is just my experience. This is not professional advice.

Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock has probably seen an article or video about how much worse the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is than the first. I was warned on Tiktok, Reddit, Instagram, and even by my parents to clear my schedule. I didn’t listen. The most I’ve reacted to a vaccine was feeling kind of dizzy after my first HPV shot (also extremely important)! 

I didn’t care. 

tik tok app on black iphone Photo by Solen Feyissa from Unsplash

I actually love vaccines to an unhealthy level. I almost lost my life when I got meningitis when I was four years old. I’ve been hospitalized because of severe pneumonia multiple times as a result of not getting the flu shot. I will get every vaccine I have access to because I know what the alternative is. So blinded by my excitement, I booked my schedule. And I majorly messed up. I switched from burning hot to freezing in seconds, couldn’t stop throwing up, had a raging fever, my throat hurt, and I even passed out a couple of times. I had the worst headache I’ve had in years, and I didn’t have the energy to get up. Aw crap. Take these steps to speed up your recovery. 

  1. 1. Take over-the-counter medications.

    Pills Spilling

    If you have Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen), they will definitely help out with your side effects. They both work as painkillers and fever reducers. These were both the most effective for toning down my side effects, especially my fever.

  2. 2. Drink some gatorade.


    Even healthcare providers are speaking about how helpful sports drinks are. I’m not confident enough to say that this has been proven, but they were a huge part of why I had the energy to get out of bed.

  3. 3. Hydration is key.

    lemon water in glasses on marble countertop

    Speaking of getting enough fluids! Drink up because you’re going to need it. We’ve all heard of water helping out with headaches and energy so don’t forget to drink all the water you can!

  4. 4. Get yourself some chicken noodle soup.

    Emmrick Mccadden-Cans

    This super tasty dish can ease cold symptoms and keep you hydrated. Also, you’re going to need some emotional comfort because these symptoms aren’t fun. I usually go for the canned soups but if you have a family member that could make it for you, that’s probably going to have more flavor. 

  5. 5. Wear a cardigan or hoodie.

    One of the worst things about getting this shot is how you feel hot one second and freezing the next, so if you really have to be in public (I had an appointment), wear a long sleeve over a shirt or tank top. Being able to adjust your clothes helps a ton!

  6. 6. Stay home.

    Girl studying surrounded by plants

    Have you ever gone to school or work while you were sick? (Please don’t, that’s how global pandemics happen.) It slows down recovery quite a bit! I would have felt a lot better sooner if I wasn’t running around.

  7. 7. Rest.

    girl laying in bed feeling stressed out

    If you get bored easily as I do, you probably hate having to lie down and do nothing. However, you won’t be capable of getting out of bed so you probably don’t have a choice. Take it easy. Fall asleep and you’ll wake up feeling so much better. And if you really can’t sleep, go watch Netflix or something.

  8. 8. Get in your most comfortable pajamas.

    woman in pajamas hugging a pillow with christmas tree in background

    You probably have an extremely soft set of matching pajamas and now is the best time to wear them. You don’t want to have tight leggings on when you can’t keep anything down. 

Take this as a warning to not skip your second dose, but to please schedule your time around it. Don’t cram for the upcoming exam you have. Don’t work out. Don’t do anything instead of ordering gallons of Gatorade and chicken noodle soup on Instacart. You’ll thank me later!