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The COVID-19 vaccine has now been available to Americans for months, with anyone over the age of 12 being eligible to receive the vaccine. Now, booster shots of the vaccine are available to those 65 and older, those 18+ who live or work in high-risk settings or those with underlying medical conditions. Right now, only Americans who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can receive their booster shot—but that's expected to change soon as an FDA panel just endorsed lower-dose booster shots for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the vaccine is an important measure to protect against COVID-19, to stop the spread and to prevent serious disease, hospitalization and death, particularly because of the highly contagious delta variant. Similar to other vaccines, side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may occur in some people, especially in those receiving their second dose or a booster shot. Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea and soreness at the spot of injection.
"You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection," the CDC explains. "These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days."
If you or someone you know is about to get their first, second or booster shot of the vaccine and wants to prepare for any side effects that may occur, below are a few products that may help relieve some of the discomforts, along with two essential items that help slow down the spread of COVID-19. Note that the CDC recommends anyone who is worried about their side effects or has side effects that don't go away within a few days should contact their healthcare provider.
1. A reusable ice pack
Icing the vaccination spot may provide immediate relief to any aches you're experiencing. This one from Amazon has over 24,000 rave reviews from people who like that the flexible design allows you to wrap and bend it to fit snugly against any body part (like your upper arm, in this case). They also say it stays ice cold for hours.
2. A washcloth to place over your arm
If you notice any discomfort on your arm where you were vaccinated, the CDC recommends laying a clean, cool washcloth on the area. With several glowing reviews, these Amazon Basics washcloths are praised for being very soft and absorbent and surprisingly high quality for the price.
3. Epsom salts for soaking
Epsom salt baths have long been a solution to muscle aches and soreness. So if you feel tender post-vaccine, you might benefit from a soak. These Epsom salts have over 24,000 reviews on Amazon with people saying they provide quick and effective relief and are more affordable than other brands.
4. A water bottle to stay hydrated
One of the CDC's top tips for anyone getting vaccinated is to drink plenty of fluids. An easy way to make sure you're getting enough H2O? A reusable water bottle. Of all the ones we've tested at Reviewed, we found the Brita Stainless Steel Filtering Water Bottle to be the best. It keeps your water refreshingly cold and filters out any odors while you sip.
5. An ice roller
You can use this ice roller the same way you would an ice pack (i.e., over the sore spot on your arm or on your forehead if you feel a headache coming on). Thousands of reviewers love that it's easy to use—simply chill it and then roll—and that it feels so soothing against your skin.
6. A cooling eye mask
A gel eye mask like this one provides two things that are known to help with headaches: coolness and darkness. The gel can be iced down to mitigate pain or tension and the solid design will block out any irritating light. Reviewers like that it maintains its cold temperature well and that it fits comfortably and snugly over your eyes. If a gel eye mask isn’t your thing, our favorite regular sleep mask should do the trick for some restful shuteye.
7. A resistance band to stretch your arm
When your arm is sore, the last thing you may feel like doing is using it. But that's exactly what the CDC recommends, saying that exercising your arm and getting it moving can help relieve some of that pain. With these highly-rated resistance bands—which have over 82,000 reviews—you can do some light stretching and mobility to prevent your arm from getting stiff.
8. A thermometer
The CDC notes that running a slight fever after receiving the vaccine is totally normal (although if it persists for a few days, go see your healthcare provider ASAP). To monitor your temperature, use a digital thermometer like this one, which has over 56,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers. They like that it's speedy and very easy to use, with a clear digital reading and color to mark whether your temperature is normal or high.
9. Hand sanitizer to take with you
"It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic," the CDC explains, noting that the vaccine can take up to two weeks to be effective. During that time (and when you're going to get the vaccine itself), hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can help keep you safe. These travel-sized Purell are easy to toss in your bag or pocket on your way out the door.
10. A face mask to keep you—and your loved ones—safe
Despite the fact that you're now vaccinated, you still need to take precautions to protect yourself and those around you, the CDC says. One of the best ways to do that is by wearing a face mask. Of all the masks we've tested at Reviewed, we like the Athleta face masks the best. They're breathable, comfortable, and triple-layered for maximum protection.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 10 products that may help ease vaccine side effects—and where to buy them