COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects That Might Be Signs Of An Allergic Reaction

While it's perfectly normal to experience mild side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, some people may have more severe symptoms than others. Although it is rare, it's possible to develop an allergic reaction to the vaccine. 

It's not uncommon to experience mild to moderate side effects shortly after getting vaccinated (via Medical News Today). In fact, it's often a sign that the vaccine is working. When you get vaccinated, your body develops an immune response to the vaccine by creating antibodies to fight off the virus. This elicits an inflammatory response, which may lead to harmless and temporary side effects. 

Typical side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and pain and swelling near the injection site. While these side effects may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, they are signs that your immune system is effectively responding to the virus.

How to tell if you're having an allergic reaction to the vaccine

Although most people will either experience mild side effects or no side effects at all, a small number of people run the risk of developing an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two types of allergic reactions: severe and non-severe. Non-severe allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine include hives, swelling, and wheezing and typically occur within 4 hours of getting vaccinated. In some cases, antihistamines may relieve certain symptoms. 

On the other hand, severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening (via Best Life). Beyond the above side effects, symptoms of anaphylaxis include itching, swelling of the lips and face, tightness in the throat, trouble breathing, coughing, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe allergic reactions are immediate and will occur within 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine. This is why you'll likely be asked to wait around for this amount of time after getting your shot. While allergic reactions can range in severity, you should seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, and if your allergic reaction occurs after your first dose, do not get the second.