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All You Need to Know About Vaccine Side Effect

Vaccine

In the last decade, over 1 billion children have been vaccinated. Back in 2019, around 85% of newborns got 3 doses of the DTP3 (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, protecting them from a serious disease, disability, and even death. Right now, immunization is preventing 4 to 5 million deaths annually.

The truth is, vaccines have spiked debates for a very long time. They are often the reason you are stuck in an awkward conversation with someone who doesn’t share the same view as you when it comes to vaccinations.

Yes, there will always be some level of fear and uncertainty. But, to understand the sheer impact of vaccination, it is crucial to take a look at all aspects that are surrounding it—even the bad ones. Just like any medication or a chemically manufactured product out there, vaccines can cause adverse effects.

Although, for the most part, they are minor, people are worried they could affect the quality of life. That’s why we decided to compile this comprehensive guide on vaccines and side effects. They will give you that valuable insight that you’ve been looking for.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

COVID Vaccine

After receiving a vaccine, patients normally experience temporary side effects. They could last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days after a dose. This is completely normal since it’s the body’s natural response system that’s reacting to the chemicals in the product.

The system is doing its best to create immunity to battle the disease. This is what experts refer to as a reaction or an inflammatory response. It is not uncommon for these reactions to get in the way of your daily life. Sometimes, you would need to take over-the-counter meds to cope with the aches or fever.

These typical adverse effects may include:

  • Reactions on the injected area. They are typically associated with swelling, redness, and pain.
  • Flu is accompanied by mild fever, muscle pain, chills, exhaustion, joint pain, or a headache.
  • Allergic reactions. When a patient is allergic to any of the products inside the vaccine, the body can react abnormally. It can result in swelling, rash, elevated heart rate, decreased blood pressure, vomiting, etc.

Do have in mind that side effects are also classified by the severity of impact. There are mild to moderate and moderate to severe problems. Mild side effects are the ones that cause mild rash, tenderness, swelling, or fever. Whereas the more complex ones can cause a bad rash, severe infection, and a weakened immune system.

Why Vaccines Have Side Effects?

Every day, our body is fighting external agents that are trying to invade our system. The cells, however, develop a memory of these invading pathogens. Therefore, the immune system becomes capable of recognizing the external agent.

These memory cells have one job – spot the virus that invaded the system and get the immune system to attack it. Vaccines are basically tools for these memory cells. So, when they enter the system, the body can fight it. There is always a chance that the patient’s body won’t react favorably to a vaccine. That’s because everyone is different, and their body reacts differently to the vaccine.

Then, there are stress-related reactions. When someone is very anxious about getting a vaccine, they can turn pale or start to sweat. They can feel lightheaded, their breathing pattern will start to speed up, and they could lose their sensations in the feet, hands, or face. These reactions, however, are not caused by the vaccine. They are triggered by the stress from getting one. When the patient calms down, these reactions disappear.

What Should People Do When Facing These Side Effects?

If you develop any of these reactions or effects, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider. To prevent the side effects from turning into an actual problem, it is best to sit in the hospital for at least 15 to 30 min post-vaccination to see how the system will react to it. For example, you can sit in your vehicle for a little while before you drive off. This can be a worthwhile strategy.

Those who develop injection site pain or fever typically take over-the-counter treatments. Like paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Others like to rely on home remedies for relief. Such as a cold compress to relieve the stiffness and pain. If you are not feeling too well, it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids. This can help you avoid dehydration and ease the discomfort. 

Different Vaccines May Cause Different Side Effects

Not every vaccine has the exact same side effects. Each immunization provider ensures a unique impact on the human body. But, to understand the impact, it is important to take a look at each individualized side effect of a vaccine. The table below will give you a general outline.

Illness​

Effect of illness​

Vaccine side effect​

Hepatitis A

Around 7 in 10 adults experience nausea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, tiredness, liver pain, etc.

Roughly 1 in 5 patients develop local swelling on the injected area. Serious reactions are very rare. 

Hepatitis B

An estimated 1 in 4 chronic carriers experiences liver cancer.

Anaphylaxis happens in 1 in 1 million people. While 2 in 100 develop a fever. Around 1 in 20 have local swelling. 

Measles

Around 1 in 15 children affected with measles experience pneumonia. 1 in 1000 develop brain inflammation. Some could experience permanent brain damage. 

Roughly 1 in 10 develop redness, pain, and swelling on the injected area. 1 in 20 have a non-infectious rash. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the sheer impact and benefit of any vaccine outweigh the possible side effects. Although there will always be a risk when taking chemical products, vaccines are a worthwhile choice. Not only to protect yourself but those around you as well. This is the kind of protective strategy everyone is looking for.

References

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/immunization-coverage

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037149/

Why do vaccines have side effects?

https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Comparisons-of-the-effects-of-diseases-and-the-side-effects-of-vaccines

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-vaccine-what-to-do-about-side-effects#Home-remedies

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Covid19 Side Effect: Brain Fog?

COVID19

With over 50 million worldwide COVID recovered cases, many survivors are still feeling the lingering side effects. You may have heard of the quickened heart rate, dizziness, and chronic fatigue. Recently, however, one particular side effect has gained a lot of attention – brain fog.

People forget names, lose concentration, and have trouble planning or prioritizing properly. In the last couple of months, experts have studied this recent side effect. They’ve analyzed its impact and where it is coming from.

If you want to know more, you are in the right place! Here is what science has to say about brain fog from COVID-19.

Real Life Brain Fog Cases

Millions of survivors have completely recovered from the illness. But, some of them are having lingering side effects.

“It feels like I’m having dementia,” stated a COVID survivor patient after experiencing the brain fog side effect. New York Times published the story of Lisa Mizelle, an experienced nurse practitioner who got infected in July. Afterward, she started to forget lab tests and routine treatments.

Ms. Mizelle stated she had to consult with colleagues about terminology she would normally use with ease. Plus, whenever she left the room, she would immediately forget what her patient said. This made her feel scared and anxious when working.

Michael Reagan also had a terrifying experience. After recovering from the coronavirus, the patient lost 12 days of his memory from his trip to Paris. Although he went on a vacation a couple of weeks earlier, he couldn’t remember any of it.

According to an infectious disease specialist, Tanu Singhal, recently, there have been more and more patients admitted for the brain fog side effect. One patient was admitted for a mild COVID infection. He didn’t need any significant treatment. But, after one month, the patient became forgetful. His forgetfulness escalated to the extent that he forgot almost everything.

He became withdrawn and drowsy and had to receive treatment. Singhal stated brain fog comes in various spectrums and needs more research. But, what we do know is that COVID-19 doesn’t behave like any other known pathogen. It breaks all the common barriers and boundaries.

Why Do People Experience Brain Fog?

Around 55% to 60% of recovered COVID-19 patients experience neurological symptoms. Studies show they have visual disturbance, fatigue, headaches, and mood changes. Major functional and microstructural brain integrity disruptions are common.

According to Singhal, COVID-19 enters the system through the ACE-2 receptor. These receptors can be found scattered around the system. That’s why the infection has complete access to all parts of the human body. So, it can also affect the central nervous system.

One reason for the forgetfulness may be actual organ damage. Depending on the severity of the infection, the virus can influence internal systems. Another reason might be a byproduct of stress. Our body has too much on its plate when it’s infected with COVID-19. So, the nervous system has nowhere left to run.

Brain fog is thought to be caused by POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). This is a well-known blood circulation health disorder. At first, patients think these symptoms are “just in their head.” But neurology reports are showing otherwise.

Although more research is necessary, it is evident that some survivors have typical POTS signs. Tae Chung, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, stated that these symptoms are very real. And they do cause a stir.

In fact, they are linked to autonomic nerve dysfunction. Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for many involuntary body functions. Like blood flow, bowel movement, and sweating.

Chung estimates that the virus could be linked to progressive inflammation in the autonomic nervous system, which ends up causing POTS. But, before a patient can diagnose the issue, they must recognize the symptoms.

How to Recognize the Symptoms?

According to Columbia University, even mild COVID cases can still cause COVID-19 brain fog. Among hospitalized patients, around a third of them experienced acute neurological symptoms.

Global case reports show that patients may experience:

  • Inattention
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trouble working for long hours
  • Difficulty getting out of bed
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Poor sleep

The least common symptoms are behavior and thinking problems. That’s why some people might feel anxious or have trouble sleeping. When accompanied by the typical sensory symptoms, like loss of taste and smell, this side effect can be a real problem.

It can make you lose your appetite, cause discomfort, lightheadedness, and more. Therefore, survivors who were previously thriving may now experience profound changes in their day-to-day lives. It is best to ask for help to curb these symptoms.

Can People Recover?

Yes. Brain fog seems to be a temporary side effect. No one has complained of chronic or permanent forgetfulness and fatigue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go away as fast as people want it to. It can linger, but the body will eventually recover.

If you suspect to have any neurological side effects, it’s best to get evaluated at an outpatient clinic. You might want to keep a diary and record the symptoms you are experiencing. To do that, pay attention to your memory, sensory symptoms, fatigue, taste and smell, anxiety, and sleep.

References

https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/even-mild-cases-can-cause-covid-19-fog

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/covid-19-story-tip-brain-fog-fatigue-dizziness–post-covid-pots-is-real

https://scroll.in/article/981106/why-do-recovered-covid-19-patients-report-brain-fog-an-infectious-disease-specialist-explains

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527190/