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Botox And Covid Vaccine Side Effects

by Lyndon Langley
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Botox And Covid Vaccine Side Effects

Botox And Covid Vaccine Side Effects

Since late summer 2020, there has been an alarming spike in reports from Americans about severe reactions following vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine against covid-19. These include everything from high fever and chills all the way up to full-body rashes and neurological symptoms like paralysis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is currently investigating over 5,000 cases across the country, including at least one death.

Of those who have experienced adverse events so far, many report swelling on their face after getting vaccinated.

In response, both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued statements saying they were aware of no evidence linking the coronavirus vaccine’s side effects to previous cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections or dermal fillers like Restylane or Juvaderm. However, some doctors say it may be too soon to rule out a connection. Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a dermatologist based in New York City, told us via email that he’s seen “several patients” with unexplained swelling who have reported experiencing adverse events since taking the vaccine.
“I believe we should withhold judgement until more information becomes available,” says Eisenberg. “If this does turn out to be real, then it would certainly have implications for how physicians manage future patients.”

The only data that exists, which was released by the FDA last week, suggests a possible link between the vaccine and facial swelling due to fillers; two people had swelling after receiving their second dose of the Moderna vaccine during clinical trials. But these patients got the vaccine after having fillers —and fillers are not the same as Botox. They’re injectable substances used to temporarily smooth wrinkles and fine lines, rather than treat conditions like excessive wrinkling associated with aging. So if someone receives a botulinum toxin injection and later gets the vaccine, it could potentially cause swelling because of the drug’s mechanism of action.
But what exactly are Botox and dermal filler injections? What do fillers actually do? And why might they lead to swelling when you receive a vaccine? Here’s what you need to know.

What are Botox and dermal fillers?

Botox is derived from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which causes muscle spasms and weakness. It’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain forms of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), frown lines, crow’s feet, and other issues around the eyes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A newer FDA-approved version, Dysport, can also be used to reduce the appearance of forehead furrows, known as glabellar lines. Both types of Botox typically take effect within days.

Dermal fillers are injectable soft tissue augmentation products meant to temporarily smooth wrinkles and fine lines caused by aging, trauma, surgery, or hereditary factors. Some popular brands include Juvaderm, Restylane, Hyrdoderma, SoftForm, Teosyal, Radiesse, Perlane, Venus, Sculptra, ArteFill, and Belotero. Unlike Botox, fillers don’t usually require approval from the FDA before being administered. Instead, they are evaluated afterwards to see whether any complications occurred, according to Healthline.

Why do I get fillers?

Getting them done isn’t inherently dangerous, but it can trigger allergic reactions and result in bruising, infection, pain, redness, and swelling, depending on your skin type, location of treatment, number of treatments received, and amount injected. You will most likely experience a reaction if you’ve never previously had one, or if you’ve had multiple treatments within weeks of each other. If you notice swelling post-procedure, contact your doctor immediately.

So why do I get the vaccine now?

Cosmetic procedures aren’t always necessary to prevent serious health problems. For example, while laser hair removal can remove pigment and help lighten dark underarm skin, it won’t significantly improve melanoma risk. Nor will removing excess fat from your thighs make them smaller. Cosmetic procedures like Botox and dermal fillers are considered elective surgeries, meaning they are performed solely to improve the overall look of someone’s body. This is different from medically necessary procedures like cancer operations, open heart surgery, and hysterectomies.

While rare, some people develop allergies to vaccines, even though it’s similar to a typical allergy reaction. In 2017, the FDA sent warning letters to companies behind the medical device MyVeganr, claiming its customers suffered allergic reactions to the hepatitis B vaccine. Last year, the FDA warned women against using the HPV shot Gardasil 9 after several users said it made them break out in hives. Doctors are still figuring out what’s causing these allergic responses.

And while rare, swelling can sometimes occur after receiving Botox injections or dermal fillers. According to Healthline, swelling is especially common when these procedures are given near the eye area, nose, mouth, lips, jaw, chin, neck, chest, or upper arm. Swelling can start anywhere from 24 hours to three days after the procedure.

How much can Botox cause swelling?

It depends on the brand and dosage. Most commonly, Botox is diluted into tiny droplets, which travel through small tubes to reach specific muscles. Since the liquid doesn’t spread evenly throughout your entire face, it can irritate sensitive areas and increase inflammation. Because of this, it’s important to find a reputable practitioner with years of training, who knows which muscles to target and where to avoid injecting.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, moderate Botox use can cause minor irritation. While milder versions of Botox can produce noticeable results in just minutes, stronger doses may cause larger reactions. Patients with fair complexions may be able to tolerate higher dosages without issue. Those with darker complexions may want to consider speaking with a dermatologist before receiving a Botox injection.

Dermal fillers work differently. They are often filled with a gel substance that hardens once inside the body. Sometimes, these gels contain collagen, a protein that naturally occurs in our bodies. When hardened, these gels can expand the size of the treated area. Depending on the product, they can provide temporary relief from wrinkles or permanently add volume to the cheeks and brow bones. Although filling in under the skin can feel uncomfortable, it rarely hurts as much as Botox.

Is it safe to keep going for my fillers now?

Yes. Keep in mind that swelling is a sign of an allergic reaction. Call your doctor right away if you notice redness, rash, itching, scaling, blistering, blisters, fluid coming from the site, swelling, or any other unusual symptoms. Otherwise, you should be good to go after 24 hours post-injection. Fillers typically last from six months to a year or longer depending on the patient. If you stop using them sooner, this could cause permanent damage to the treated area.

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