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Can I take NyQuil with COVID or after the COVID vaccine?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Feb 21, 2022.

Official answer


Key Points

  • People over 12 years of age may be able to use over-the-counter (OTC) NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid (acetaminophen, doxylamine, dextromethorphan) to treat COVID-19 symptoms or after receiving a COVID vaccine. However, some people may need prescription medicines for COVID, so ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can safely use NyQuil.
  • If you have serious symptoms such as trouble breathing, chest pain or tightness, confusion, high fever, or a bluish color on the lips, fingernails or hands, seek emergency care right away.
  • If you are at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease due to any medical condition, contact your doctor immediately after a positive test to determine if you need prescription medicine or further evaluation.
  • NyQuil is used to treat cold and flu symptoms like cough, fever or headache. It is not used to kill the COVID-19 virus.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have certain health conditions that increase your risk of becoming very sick (for example: lung disease, heart disease, obesity, cancer, weakened immune system, and other conditions), you may need special prescription medications for COVID. Review the CDC recommendations to determine if you have medical conditions that may increase your risk for severe COVID.

Call your healthcare provider right away after a positive test to determine if you need additional treatments, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Some treatments may need to be started within 5 days of your symptom onset.

COVID-19 recommendations change frequently. Follow your doctor’s advice and review the CDC guidelines for what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.

What is NyQuil?

NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid is used to treat symptoms such as sneezing, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose, and cough from a cold or the flu. If you have COVID, it is best to ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use NyQuil.

NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid contains 3 active over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and you may not need all of these ingredients to treat your symptoms:

NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid should not be used in children under the age of 12. Children ages 6 to 11 years of age may take Children’s NyQuil. Read the Drug Facts label before you use NyQuil.

NyQuil can cause you to feel very sleepy or drowsy. Be careful when driving or operating machinery. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages with NyQuil. Alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers can increase drowsiness when used with NyQuil.

NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid also contains 10% alcohol. Alcohol is present in the medicine to help dissolve the active ingredients. An alcohol-free version of this medicine is available.

Related: Compare NyQuil Products

Can I take Tylenol, Advil or Motrin before the COVID vaccine?

It is NOT recommended that you take OTC medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) before the COVID vaccine to help prevent vaccine side effects like muscle aches, headache, chills or injection site soreness. It is not known if these medicines will affect how well the COVID vaccine works if you take it before the vaccine. NyQuil Cold and Flu contains acetaminophen.

Also, it is NOT recommended that you take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions. NyQuil contains the sedating antihistamine doxylamine.

However, if your healthcare provider recommends that you continue any medicine on a regular basis, follow their instructions exactly.

Learn more: COVID-19 Vaccines: Get the Facts

This is not all the information you need to know about Vicks NyQuil products for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full NyQuil Drug Facts label and discuss the use of any over-the-counter or prescription product with your doctor or other health care provider.


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