Sit upright during the immunization. Sitting upright is associated with reduced pain during immunization. Tell your health care provider if you have a history of fainting or feel faint during or after the immunization. In this case, you should lie down.
Relax your arm
If you’re feeling anxious, take slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and blow out through your mouth. This can help calm you and can also serve as a distraction. You can also bring someone with you to the appointment for support.
Taking your focus away from the needle can help reduce pain. Distract yourself before and during the immunization. You can talk to someone, read, listen to music, watch a video or play a game on your phone, or daydream about something exciting. It doesn’t matter what the distraction is — it just needs to be something that will actually distract you.
Numb the skin
Numbing creams and patches decrease the pain when the needle is given. You can buy numbing creams or patches at your local pharmacy without a prescription. You will need to put the cream or patch on before the appointment because they take 30 - 60 minutes to work. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Read about how to use numbing creams and patches for immunizations.
Feel faint with needles? Try muscle tension! Squeeze your leg or stomach muscles for 10-15 seconds, then release for 20-30 seconds. Repeat until the immunization is over and you no longer feel faint. Muscle tension increases your blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, helping to prevent you from fainting. Make sure you tell your health care provider if you feel faint or have fainted with needles or other procedures before. Read this handout to learn more about muscle tension.
USE THE CARD SYSTEM
- Vaccinations make you feel uncomfortable.
- You have vaccination questions.
- Vaccinations make you feel stressed.
- Vaccinations make you nervous.