Vaccine time: How to overcome your fear of needles

‘It’s an instant panic. I get clammy, queasy, nauseous, shaky, sweaty’
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 1:18 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(CNN) – Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But for millions of Americans, a fear of needles may make the decision to get the vaccine even harder.

“It’s an instant panic. I get clammy, queasy, nauseous, shaky, sweaty,” said Alyssa Moody. “Everything you’d get in a really stressful situation.”

When she was younger, she said she’d even faint from her fear of needles.

About a quarter of American adults share that fear. An estimated 7% avoid immunizations because of it, according to the CDC.

If you’re one of them, you may be able to work through it on your own.

Cheryl Carmin, a psychologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, suggests overcoming a needle phobia with exposure.

Try placing yourself increasingly and repeatedly closer to what you fear.

For example, you can begin by looking at drawings of needles, then photos.

Then, try watching videos of immunizations until you can finally work your way up to getting an actual shot.

Another psychologist suggests reducing anxiety through relaxation techniques like meditation. Distracting yourself during a shot can help, too.

For Moody, having a distraction seems to help.

“Keep my eyes focused on something other than what’s happening on my arm or whatever else I’m getting the shot and that makes it tolerable,” she said.

If you have a severe fear or phobia of needles, it might be time to seek medical help.

Psychologists say leaving a phobia untreated may also cause symptoms to worsen over time.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.