The One Thing You Must Do Before and After Your Vaccine, Doctors Say

·4 min read

Whether it's avoiding certain medications, refraining from drinking alcohol, or simply getting a good night's sleep, doctors across the U.S. have been offering a great deal of advice to those planning to get vaccinated against COVID. But there's a minor detail you may have missed that could be key to how you feel in the wake of your shot. There's one simple thing doctors are urging patients to do both before and after getting vaccinated, especially if you want to lessen your side effects or you're prone to fainting. Read on to learn what's necessary to do both before and after you get vaccinated, and for more vaccine news, check out Moderna CEO Says There Could Be a Big Difference in Your Next Vaccine.

Hydrate before and after getting your COVID vaccine.

Doctors have suggested that drinking water before and after your vaccination is key to feeling good. In an Apr. 5 blog post for the Henry Ford Healthy System, Allison Weinmann, MD, an infectious disease expert, advised patients to be well-hydrated for their vaccine appointment. "If your appointment is around a mealtime, you should also eat beforehand and drink water—don't go to your appointment hungry or thirsty," Weinmann said.

David Berger, MD, with Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care, told ABC-affiliate WFTS Tampa Bay, "We all feel better when we're well-hydrated so this isn't the time to go on a fluid strike, but really try to overdo it with the fluids. To the point where, when one's urinating that it's a clear color." And for another helpful tip, Make Sure to Do This the Day After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Say.

"Inadequate hydration" can make vaccine side effects worse.

Side effects appear to be worse in people who are dehydrated, experts explain. Robert Quigley, MD, the SVP and regional medical director for International SOS Assistance and MedAire, told Bustle, "Inadequate hydration or, even worse, dehydration, can exacerbate the side effects of the vaccine."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that water consumption helps your body maintain a normal temperature, lubricates joins, protects sensitive tissues like the spinal cord, and removes wastes through urine, sweating, and bowel movements. Additionally, more water is needed when you're running a fever, vomiting, or having diarrhea, the CDC says, all of which could happen as a result of the vaccine. Vivek Cherian, MD, an internal medicine physician, told Bustle that fevers "can lead to fluid loss and dehydration via sweating."

According to the CDC, anyone with a fever after their COVID vaccine should wear light clothing and drink an ample amount of fluids.

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Spread out your water intake throughout the day.

In an article for Health,Cynthia Sass, RD, a New York Times best-selling author, writes about the importance of hydrating both prior to and after getting vaccinated. She suggests drinking eight 8-ounce cups of water scattered throughout the day. "Think of your day in four blocks: 1) from the time you get up to mid-morning; 2) mid-morning to lunchtime; 3) lunchtime to mid-afternoon; and 4) mid-afternoon to dinnertime. Aim for 2 cups (16 ounces) of water during each of these blocks," Sass writes. She also notes that the Institute of Medicine says women need 11 cups of total fluid per day and men need more than 15 cups.

"Vaccine side effects should go away within a few days. But healthy habits, like drinking more water and eating nutrient-rich meals, can bring lasting wellness benefits," Sass adds. "If you've been in a bit of a pandemic pothole, think of your vaccination as an opportunity to kick-start a healthier, sustainable routine."

And for more on what you should eat around your jab, check out You Need This in Your Diet After Your COVID Vaccine, Doctor Warns.

People who forget to hydrate are more likely to faint.

David Wohl, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, says fainting after getting vaccinated isn't anything to panic over, but it can be prevented with hydration. "Make sure you have enough volume of blood, which is made up mostly of water—so drink, eat, feel comfortable (and) relax as much as you can," he told local CBS News affiliate WNCN in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

Jim Allen, MD, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told WOSU News that approximately 24 college students fainted over the weekend after getting the Johnson&Johnson jab. Despite the vaccine's recent pause, Allen doesn't think the type of vaccine has anything to do with the students' reactions. Instead, he thinks they fainted because they weren't properly hydrated. "I talked to every single one of them and the common thread was 'I didn't eat breakfast' and 'I didn't have anything to drink before I came over here,'" he said.

And if you're worried about how you'll react to the COVID vaccine, beware that Doing This Makes the Most Common Vaccine Side Effect Worse, Experts Warn.