Use proven strategies to ease fear of shots

Fear of needles needn’t stop anyone from getting necessary vaccinations.

“It’s very common to have a fear of needles,” says Dr. Deborah Wiebe, a health psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “For most people, these are manageable fears that can be addressed through a variety of simple pain-management strategies.”

Tips to help ease needle anxiety:

• Some people prefer to know what to expect. Ask the health care professional to explain each step. An accurate, gentle reply such as, “You’ll get a shot in the arm. It will sting briefly, then it will be over,” can be reassuring.

• Use your imagination. Imagine being on a relaxing beach, feeling the warm sun and hearing the waves come in and go out.

• Breathe. Take slow, deep breaths while concentrating on relaxing your muscles.

“Different strategies work for different people, so if one thing doesn’t work, try another,” Dr. Wiebe says.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in neurosciences, including psychiatry.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

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