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What to do before and after you get the vaccine

Dr. Yogesh Shah suggests not getting a mammogram after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because it could cause a woman's lymph nodes to swell.

DES MOINES, Iowa — More than 600,000 Iowans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and with hundreds of thousands more to go, it's important to know what to do before and after an individual gets a vaccine.

Dr. Yogesh Shah, the chief medical officer at Broadlawns Medical Center, said before getting a vaccine, a person should make sure they have not had another vaccine within the previous 14 days.

Before going to an appointment for your vaccine, make sure not to take any anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medicine, because it could reduce a good immune response.

However, a person should take any medication that is prescribed to them.

Shah noted it's necessary for someone to eat and drink a lot of water before getting the shot to help with blood circulation. But it's important to stay away from drinking alcohol the night before and the day of your vaccination.

"The reason being, there's a small, chance of [a] person [having] low blood pressure and [becoming] dizzy," he said. "We call it medically, Vasovagal attack."

After the shot, an individual might feel some soreness in their arms, which is a common side effect according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To reduce the soreness, it's okay to do some light arm movements or low-impact workouts.

"If you can, then it will help to have some circulation, some motion and [there's a] possible chance, it will reduce your pain threshold, the chemicals which are causing the local pain," Shah said.

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It is also recommended to put an ice pack or something warm on the spot of the shot to help reduce the pain. If that does not work and a person begins to feel sick, contact a doctor and talk about taking over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

And if you are a woman, Shah suggests not getting a mammogram after getting the vaccine.

"Getting a mammogram molecularly, don't get it after your COVID vaccine," he said. "Try to get it before because it can cause inflammation of the lymph nodes and you don't want that to be positive."

If a person gets side effects after getting the vaccine, they can report them at vaers.hhs.gov.

Watch: Inside a rural Iowa vaccination clinic

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