It’s turning out to be one of the most unexpected… and frightening… side effects of the coronavirus vaccine.
We now know about the potential for a high fever some folks have reported after the second shot. It’s not that. And it’s not the fatigue, either.
It’s not even the very rare but alarming allergic reactions. They’re why you have to stick around for a while after the injection so they can keep an eye on you.
No, this lymph node linked side effect is something else entirely. And for women, it can have an impact in a way that may not be obvious. Well, not at first.
But if it pops us… and you don’t know that it can happen… it could send you into a full-blown panic.
Lumpy lymph nodes and breast cancer
Every woman has it drilled into her from the moment she becomes a young adult. We learn the importance of a monthly breast self-exam to check for the first signs of cancer.
Many of us even have little hang tags on the bathroom mirror or shower that have a reminder of how to perform the exam. So you don’t need me to explain that you’re looking not only for lumps in the breast itself but also swelling in the lymph nodes in and around the armpits and collarbone.
What’s THAT got to do with the coronavirus vaccine? Well, it turns out everything.
Because some vaccinated women develop what doctors refer to as axillary adenopathy. The rest of us would just call swollen lymph nodes in the armpits.
Of course, what makes this side effect truly scary is that swelling in this area isn’t just a potential sign of breast cancer. Lumpy lymph nodes can be a sign the disease has spread.
So, as you might imagine, when this unexpected side effect popped up, it set off a bit of panic in some cases.
The comforting truth about this alarming side effect
Early estimates find that 12 percent of women who get the Moderna vaccine experience some type of swelling. And at least one percent see swelling specifically in those lymph nodes.
It appears to be much less common with the Pfizer shot so far. And it’s not yet clear why there’s a difference between the two.
One thing, however, IS clear. This lymph node swelling is a very unusual side effect that’s not typically seen with other vaccines. This is why the women affected had no idea to expect it.
But there’s good news too. Experts say there’s no reason to be overly alarmed if you turn out to be among the one percent of ladies who experience swelling in these lymph nodes.
Similar to some other COVID-19 vaccine side effects I’ve warned you about before (click here to catch up on those), it’s actually a sign your body is doing exactly what’s intended.
You see, the vaccines are designed to teach your body about the coronavirus—that way, your immune system learns how to mount an effective defense against it. And swelling in the lymph nodes is a normal immune reaction.
How to avoid panic and unnecessary procedures
In other words, the increased lymph production is a sign that your immune system is busily making antibodies to fight the COVID-19 infection.
But obviously swollen lymph nodes can be confusing when you or the doctor don’t know to expect them. So researchers are urging women to avoid breast exams and mammograms right after getting vaccinated.
The swelling in the lymph nodes typically goes down after a week or two. But the Society of Breast Imaging says you might want to wait about four weeks after the second shot just to be sure. That way you can avoid any panic or unnecessary procedures being triggered by the swelling.
Haven’t gotten your second round of the vaccine yet? Be sure to check out my special report on how to prepare for the 2nd does.
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