If you’re looking for ways to overcome your needle anxiety, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
As many of you may know, I was a medic in the U.S. Army, which meant that it was my job to give shots, set up IV treatment, draw blood, etc, but needles have never been my friend. While I had no problems doing all of that, I never liked being on the receiving end. I remember when I got my first tattoo, I almost fainted in my chair, but I got through it with some of the tips that I’ll be sharing with you today.
If you’re anything like me, you might be here because you’re thinking of getting the COVID vaccine because you’d like for life to return to normal. Due to me being extremely high-risk, I was offered the vaccine and I jumped at the chance. I want to be protected. I’m like most people, tired of being indoors and not being able to do the things I loved pre-COVID. Travel has always been big for me, and with the lockdowns, I’ve been in my own little bubble just waiting for it to burst.
Now, this post isn’t about whether you should take the vaccine or not (although I hope you do), but for those who fear getting the vaccine because they’re scared of needles. Who am I to make light of your fears? I used to cry like a baby when it was time for me to get a shot. I remember once in elementary school in the Caribbean, I ran all the way home to avoid getting vaccinated. I’m pretty sure I was missing something important right up to my adult years. 🤣 Luckily, the military vaccinates all incoming soldiers and keeps us updated with boosters, etc.
If you’re scared of needles you’re not alone. Did you know that 25% of adults and 63% of kids have a fear of needles making it difficult for them to get vaccinated? We used to have to hold my younger son down for him to be vaccinated until I learned a few tips I’ll be sharing with you. The Meg Foundation is also an excellent resource for both children and adults alike with strategies and tools needed to help you overcome your fear and hack the vax.
So you may be wondering: “How can I reduce my anxiety when it comes to needles?” Here are five easy ways.
- Get Your Appointment in Advance
While getting an appointment in advance won’t necessarily diminish your anxiety, it will ease it a bit knowing that you’re not just sitting there waiting. You can then arrive just a few minutes before your scheduled time.
- Take Someone With You
For my appointment, while I no longer so much fear needles, it still felt good having someone with me. I decided to take my son along with me as an added distraction and for support. I also had my phone so I could scroll through messages and watch funny videos on YouTube as an added means of distraction. If you’re busy being distracted, you won’t be focused on the needle.
- Block the Pain Before It Happens
If your fear is the pain of needles, then consider blocking the pain before you even receive the needle. You can purchase over-the-counter numbing creams that you can put on your arm before leaving home or while waiting.
- Speak Up
I’m a big advocate of speaking up about what’s troubling you. Your vaccinator won’t know that you’re afraid of needles unless you say something. Let them know how you feel and let them know how they can help you feel comfortable. Whether it’s talking to you as you receive the vaccine or by helping to keep you distracted etc., use your voice. It’s your most powerful tool!
- Treat Yourself
Just as the dentist gives kids a treat after a dental visit, why not treat yourself to something cool at the end of it all. After all, you deserve it. You just went through an experience that you didn’t think you could and made it through. Grab yourself a Frappuccino or even a donut. Just don’t go overboard with the treats.
Now, these are just a few of the ways that I pump myself up before a shot, but if you’re looking for a more detailed plan, you can use The Meg Foundation’s Hack the Vax plan-building tool that guides you through all the tricks. Best of all, it’s personalized just for you.
So think, plan, and go get your shot without fear, and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous.