The last you heard from me, the COVID-19 vaccine injection site on my right arm was red, hot, raised, itchy, and just overall uncomfortable. I haven't heard of a lot of people who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who suffered side effects like me (chills, fever, body aches, headache, and of course, COVID arm). That's why I feel like it's important for me to share what happened to me. Here's what I tried, what worked, and what didn't work to remedy my unhappy COVID arm.
I read that hydrocortisone helped some people with the itchiness. Since I'm always getting bitten by mosquitoes, I usually keep some in the first aid kit. Luckily, the Cortizone 10 I had didn't expire until this September so I slathered it on my arm.
It felt less itchy. For about 10 seconds. Then, it was maybe even more itchy! Fail.
I've stocked up on compresses because of my million bouts of mastitis in the past eight months. Anyway, I read that warm compresses have helped people who've experienced pain at the injection site so I tried it. And omg it made the pain worse. Warm compresses did not work for me!
With my aforementioned abundance of compresses, I decided to try a cold compress. And hallelujah it made my arm feel much better, nice, cool, and comforting. The warmth of my arm turned the cold compress warm in 10 minutes but it was better than nothing.
I was complaining about how my arm was so itchy and a friend suggested that aloe gel could help. I had a container of aloe that I bought in hopes of making DIY hand sanitizer during the pandemic but it never came to that. So I slathered the aloe on my COVID arm and it was soothing. This time for 10 minutes or so. Longer than the Cortizone. But I didn't know if it was worth continuously applying the aloe gel. But the success of the cold compress and the aloe gell gave me an idea. . .
(Generic) Benadryl with aloe cooling spray
Finally! Something that actually soothed the pain and itchiness for more than 10 minutes! Once the icy spray hit my arm, it felt locked in and fricking amazing. I only had to apply it once in the morning and once before bed! After two days of using the cooling spray, most of the redness, pain, and itchiness went away.
So I got my Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination on Monday, March 22. I bought and started using the cooling spray on Friday, March 26. By Sunday, March 28, most worst symptoms of my COVID arm were gone. Today, on March 31, the injection site on my arm is still a little raised and sensitive to the touch, but all the pain, redness, and itching are gone.
On the news, I saw that they estimated 0.5% of people who got the Moderna vaccine had a COVID arm reaction. They're not even reporting on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so I hope this is helpful to anyone out there who's experiencing these scary symptoms after their shot. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.
If I had the choice to either get or not get the shot, I would still without a doubt get the COVID vaccine, even though the side effects were unpleasant. Because I know it's nothing compared to getting the coronavirus.
I work at a health insurance company that’s big on well-being and self-care. These things are important, but most days it doesn't feel like there’s enough time in the day to do my regular job, much less treat myself Donna and Tommy style! BUT this month the company started providing chair and table massages twice a week. There’s a charge but it’s much cheaper than going to a spa or regular masseuse.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to sign up for a 15-minute chair massage. A few months ago, I was telling my husband that I liked massages in theory, but they never concentrate on my problem spot, my left shoulder. I also hate it when they massage my arms and legs it seems like a waste. I can reach those areas but I can’t get that knot out of my shoulder. My husband, the practical man that he is said, “Just get a chair massage.” Brilliant! But from where? And could I afford it? And then lo and behold, my place of work starts offering chair massages (and table massages, too!). If that isn’t a beautiful convergence of events, I don’t know what is.
And boy, the chair massage amazing. I had a really nice (AND STRONG!) gal. She asked me what I wanted her to focus on and I told her my shoulders. So, she started with my right shoulder and found a baby knot I didn’t even know was there! Nice. And then she moved to my left shoulder and found the knot. She even said, “Whoa, here it is!” before she pounded, kneaded, and loosened up that knot. It was pure bliss.
When she was done, I thanked her and practically floated out of the room. Now, I’m doing research on how many massages it’s okay to get a month because I’m determined to treat myself more often. I can’t resist the possibility of loose shoulders at an affordable price without having to leave the building.
One of the nicknames I was given as a chubby child was "Food Court" since my name is Courtney. Oh kids can be so cruel.
Even after we grow up, the negative effects of being teased or bullied can remain.
One of my favorite lunches is warmed up frozen vegetables with a dash of butter, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of pepper. I know this is more like a side dish (where's the protein? where are the whole grains?) but when I'm busy working, sometimes I just need something to get me through the day.
At my previous job, people thought I was crazy for loving frozen vegetables and eating them regularly. As a person who grew up a picky eater, I've learned not to judge people by what they eat. What business is it of mine if someone doesn't like something? Who cares? Unfortunately, not everyone is like this and more often than not, they'll judge my food choices.
Now that I work at a health organization, my coworkers don't judge my passion for a steamable bag of broccoli. In fact, many of them will go to Walmart with me and buy five bags of frozen veggies to store in the freezer for lunches for the week. How about that!
Anyway, here's a blog post I wrote for Island Scene Online about celebrating Healthy Lunch Day. It's nice to work in a place where my healthy habits are appreciated instead of mocked.
I might be the most lethargic person I know! Sure, during the week I can hit 10,000 steps easy, especially since I'm able to squeeze in a 30 minute workout. But on the weekends, it's not uncommon for me to have about 2k steps a day. That's terrible!
Here's an article, Watch Your Step, I wrote for Island Scene Online filled with tips on how to hit that 10k step goal every day.