I got my first shot of covid-19 (mRNA) vaccine at 11:55 AM on the 8th of July. For the first 8 hours, I felt completely fine. Then the effects started kicking in. First it was the diarrhea that began after dinner that night. Then at around 1 AM, I woke up with fever, joint pain and chills.
The 72 hours that followed felt like one of the worst viral infections I've ever had in my life. The fever hovered at ~102F. The diarrhea and joint pain persisted throughout. Then there were all the side effects of running a temperature like the chills, the vomiting and those unbearable throbbing headaches.
Then there was the dandruff (or should I say the lack of it?), which on day 1 was considerably less than normal. But I proceeded to not think much of it and went about the rest of my day as any other sick person would.
Much-needed Digression: I'm in my late 30s and I've had my fair share of viral infections. I've also always had dandruff and invariably, every time I've come down with a viral infection in the past, the amount of dandruff on my scalp has always gone up. I don't exactly know why because I'm not a medical professional. But I always concluded that it was due to stress or excessive sweating every time the fever broke.
Anyhoo, it's day 2 of hell from all the viral-infection-like side effects so I remind myself that I need to wash my head to keep the dandruff in check. With no motivation to do anything, I somehow struggle out of bed and drag my aching body to the shower. I take a quick peek at the usual spots on my scalp in the mirror and cannot believe what I see - 90% of my head was dandruff free!
At this point I became certain that something strange was going on. The first and most obvious correlation was that this was somehow an effect of the vaccine (or my immune response to it). But like any good theory, I wanted it to pass the test of falsification and time. And so, in search of something meaningful to do during my recovery, I began analyzing the possible variables that may have affected my dandruff (or my health) from the time I started having the effects.
Here's the list.
- Drugs (presence of): The only medication I took was paracetamol to control the temperature. Duration - 3 days.
- Diet (change): A loss of appetite during those 3 days pushed me to only consuming fruits (mainly apples). I've resumed regular diet since day 4. Duration - 3 days.
- Physical Activity (absence of): Less than normal physical activity and no exercise. Duration - 7 days.
- Stress (presence of): Any stress there might have been has to be accounted to the immune response. I clearly had no thought-induced stress during this time whatsoever. On the contrary, I was elated to see the dandruff disappearing from my scalp. Duration - 3 days.
- Sleep (change): I had erratic sleep patterns on the days I was running a temperature for obvious reasons. Duration - 3 days.
- Hygiene (no change): Usual daily showers and head wash.
- Water intake (no change): Consumed the same amount of water as any other day.
- Vaccine (presence of): Got the first shot.
I assume it is safe to rule out the effects of drugs, diet, stress & sleep because they lasted only 3 days. And it is also safe to rule out hygiene & water consumption because there was no change in them before & after my shot. That leaves 2 possible causes: physical activity and vaccination.
Alright, so I remember having had dandruff starting from age 15. But I'm not someone who has regularly exercised all my life. That has been a habit of mine only for the last 5 years or so. And exercising or change in physical activity has never had any effect on my dandruff in the past.
Thus the verdict of my non-peer-reviewed and unscientific study (not for the lack of trying) is this: The (temporary?) departure of my dandruff could either be, non-obviously due to reduced physical activity during recovery, or obviously due to my body's immune response following inoculation.
The right way to conclude this would be to further investigate the non-obvious choice or to ascribe the fortunate effect of ending up with a dandruff-free scalp to some unknowable cause. But for now, I am going to scrap all of that and go with the obvious choice to say that the covid-19 vaccine killed my dandruff because it makes for a bloody good headline.