Can you take Tylenol or Advil after COVID vaccine? Here's what you can and cannot do post-vax

All the post-vax do's and don'ts, from over-the-counter meds (Tylenol or Advil after COVID vaccine?) to birth control

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's been a lot of confusion over whether you can take Tylenol or Advil after COVID vaccine shots. In fact, there's been a lot of confusions over the COVID vaccine shots, full stop. Can the COVID vaccine delay your period? Will you need a vaccine passport to travel once you've been jabbed? And so on and so on. 

Many women are anxious to be one step closer toward normalcy, whatever that may look like. But what does that entail, exactly? We'll walk you through common COVID-related questions—like if you can take over the counter meds after your shot or if you're allowed to toast being fully vaccinated with a cocktail. 

Read on for more, and remember to always consult a doctor if you have questions!

Can you take Tylenol or Advil after COVID vaccine?

Feeling anxious about the possibility of a sore arm after your jab? You're not alone. Many people are curious if it is acceptable to take over the counter drugs—including Tylenol and Advil—to ease any discomfort that the COVID-19 vaccine might cause.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says taking over-the-counter meds is acceptable, provided you don't have any conditions that would prevent you from doing so under normal circumstances. Although you have the green light for an Advil or Tylenol, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before taking any type of medication after you are vaccinated. 

However, the CDC recommends that you do not take over-the-counter drugs—like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines—before receiving your shot, as it is unclear how the medication will affect the vaccine's potency. (But we do give you credit for wanting to be ahead of the curve.) 

Can you take prescriptions after the COVID vaccine?

Although the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases states that the "vast majority" of prescription drugs do not affect the COVID vaccine's effectiveness, you should always consult a doctor with any questions. 

However, the foundation further reports that prescription drugs that affect the immune system, including cancer chemotherapies or drugs for autoimmune diseases, can potentially affect the vaccine. 

Bottom line: Always consult a medical professional. 

Can you drink alcohol after your COVID vaccine?

You might feel that a vaccine shot is worthy of a celebratory cocktail, but you definitely need to keep in mind what you're putting in your system. Moderate drinking (no more than two drinks per day for men, and a maximum of one drink per day for women) is acceptable, but heavy drinking will likely alter the vaccine's effectiveness, per The New York Times

Quantity is of the utmost importance. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has provided the following information on a standard drink: 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 8 to 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor, 5 fluid ounces of table wine, and 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits. So nix the idea of those novelty glasses in Las Vegas that are the size of your head!

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Can you smoke after your COVID vaccine?

Although smoking (tobacco or marijuana) does not appear to affect the vaccine's potency, NPR reports that studies have shown that smoking has been linked to worse COVID-19 conditions. So puff responsibly.

A doctor or health care professional applies a patch or adhesive bandage to a young woman after vaccination or injection of medication.

(Image credit: Getty)

Can the COVID vaccine affect your birth control?

"While recent studies have shown transient menstrual cycle changes after vaccination, there is no evidence that the vaccine impacts the efficacy of prescribed forms of birth control," Dr. Charis Chambers, the Period Doctor, tells My Imperfect Life. "If someone is using cycle tracking as their form of birth control, however, this can certainly be affected."

Dr. Brian Kaminski, ProMedica's coronavirus expert, confirmed that those on birth control should receive the vaccine, unless there is another factor that could potentially affect them.

Can you have sex after receiving the COVID vaccine?

"There is also no evidence that sexual activity needs to be avoided or delayed following vaccination," Dr. Charis Chambers tells My Imperfect Life. "Even so, since some people may note mild post-vaccination symptoms like myalgia, fatigue, headache, or low grade fever, sex may not be high on their priority list."

To learn more about the vaccine and what is acceptable to do once you've been fully vaccinated, visit the CDC website