COVID-19 Vaccine Preparation Recommendations

There has been a lot of information in the press recently about the vaccination program and the new mRNA vaccines put out by Pfizer and Moderna.  I will be receiving my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on February 9th.  I’m personally grateful to be receiving the additional protection from COVID-19 that these vaccines offer.  As many patients have been asking about the vaccines, this post covers some suggestions of things to do prior to and after receiving a vaccine dose.

These vaccines stimulate your body to produce antibodies to COVID-19.  There are things you can do to help your body prepare for this process and build a robust antibody count.  Acupuncture can also be helpful in supporting a strong and healthy immune system as well as in addressing symptoms that might arise after receiving a vaccine dose.

  • Sleep – get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night.  Restorative sleep boosts immune cell competence, which is the ability of the body to manufacture antibodies.
  • Avoid sugar – sugar has the effect of “stunning” white blood cells and creating more inflammation, all of which affect the immune response.  It’s recommended to avoid sugar for seven days prior to a vaccine dose and then afterwards while your body is forming the antibodies.  Forms of sugar include white sugar, brown sugar, agave, honey, maple syrup, fruit juices, high-fructose corn syrup, and alcohol.  You might want to consider reducing refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, corn, and potatoes as they also are easily metabolized into sugar in the body.
  • Exercise – get a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day for the week preceding the vaccine dose.  Sweating and getting the blood pumping increases the competence of the immune system.
  • Hot bath or sauna – sweating increases the flow of blood and lymph as well as both the number and type of immune cells.  This heat mimics a fever, one of the body’s protective mechanisms against pathogens.  Baths and saunas also enhance exercise recovery, sleep, emotional well-being, and detoxing.
  • Gut biome – 70-80% of our immune system is determined by our gut biome.  Maintaining a healthy gut helps support the immune system functioning.  Including fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, kimchee, and kefir and removing foods that create digestive inflammation can help support the gut biome.
  • Stop smoking – inhaling smoke creates inflammation and inhibits the reaction time of the immune system.

(These suggestions were modified from a piece put out by Healthwise Integrative Medicine who derived the material from HealwithNature.com.)

After getting a vaccine, it’s recommended not to take Ibuprophin or anti-viral supplements that would suppress the immune response.  Tylenol can be taken, if needed, to address any body aches or headaches.  Acupuncture can also help address the subsequent headaches and body aches.

This link contains an easy-to-understand and fun overview of how the mRNA vaccines work:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=the81FQoAUI&t.

Schedule an appointment with Body in Balance Acupuncture today.

We’re all in this together.  Stay safe and healthy!

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