Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine With Eczema
Either dreaded or celebrated word, COVID-19 vaccine! It’s a personal choice to get vaccinated. In some ways, the word is sort of becoming taboo. Nobody really wants to pry into others' decisions if they’ve been vaccinated or not. Ultimately, I can only speak on my own experience and thought process that brought me to decide to get vaccinated. I waited longer than many for a couple of reasons. Eczema is one main highlight of that decision.
My experience during the pandemic
While writing this, I am one shot down and will receive my second vaccine dosage in two days. To even be at this stage was a shock for me until recently. If it weren’t for summertime fun and wanting to be outdoors without added worry, I would have held off longer than this time period. That is simply because I’ve followed social distancing protocols and remained masked for the entire year of the 2020 pandemic. My immediate family members and I gratefully did not get sick during this entire time, but most importantly, I had confidence in my immune system to protect me. It is no surprise that I am deeply into natural healing and health, so for a while, I had distrust in any medical system due to my topical steroid drug withdrawal and receiving no true help during that 3-year period.
Why did I hesitate to get vaccinated?
Ultimately, my not taking the vaccine is slightly self-indulgent, and not thinking of anyone else that I could spread it to not having the vaccine. That thought made me think a little more about getting the vaccine, although that alone would not make me get it. My great fear of TSW or eczema flares due to foreign ingredients going into my body was still in the front of my mind. I am very strict on what goes into my body, and if I treat myself with junk food or extremely processed food, I will monitor my skin and overall health days after to ensure proper cleansing from the inside out. In conclusion, if I have so much trust in my body's natural ability to fight and heal, I should be confident that my body could handle a routine vaccine that has actually been proven to be helpful.
Why did I decide to get vaccinated?
What made me decide to get vaccines came down to two key elements. Number one is that I have asthma. Although it has been dormant for over 15 years without any episodes, I suffered severely from asthma attacks in my childhood. Aware that the coronavirus attacks your respiratory system, looking for any failing factor in your body, I was moved to realize the pros and cons more seriously. My fear of an allergic reaction and eczema flare due to this vaccination did not outweigh the discomfort that could come from not being able to breathe properly. Secondly, since I have gone through the unthinkable with topical steroid withdrawal, I had faith that I could fight through whatever process this vaccine could potentially take me through.
My experience with the first dose
The side-effects that I faced with shot number one was not anything abnormal. In fact, healthy young friends of mine had worse symptoms. Did my arm hurt? Yes. Did I have to take it easy and mostly rest when I could? Yes. Did I have a fever, sickness, or extreme eczema flare? No. What did happen was something that I did not feel in a very long time. I felt a difference in my throat right away, like swelling. That later turned into the tightness of my chest and even a small moment of wheezing. That shocked me! I haven’t felt that in close to 20 years, but the feeling was so familiar, like it happened yesterday. I knew exactly how I needed to control my breathing, the way that I needed to lay on the bed, and the thought process or needed distractions to power through. Ultimately, I was more fearful of my breathing getting to its worst than the pain level itself.
Eczema and the vaccine
I can not clearly claim that my atopic dermatitis began to flare after the shot. Did I get a flare-up on the inside of my arms? Yes. But I also was flaring up recently in that area because of swimming in a pool more frequently. I stopped swimming so often when I took my first dose of the vaccine, but I believe that the flare became worse because of already having that area partially inflamed. Thankfully, as my eczema cycle goes, I began seeing improvements in a week, and as I’m typing this, I am almost clear in that area. I get my second shot in two days, and maybe I’ll have the same symptoms; maybe it will be worse. What I know is that I made a decision, and either way, I will live with the consequences.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?