VACCINATION EDUCATION FOR THE ANXIOUS

I have a confession to make. Even though I have been working in health care for 30 years, I am afraid of health care! I have “white coat syndrome” when I visit the doctor: my blood pressure rises, my hear rate increases, and I get very anxious. I feel the same way when I take a new medication, or receive a vaccination.

I have been this way since I can remember, and over the years, I have applied different techniques to lessen the fear. For those of you for whom this does not occur, please consider that a family member or patient may benefit from you sharing this information with them. Many people are fearful of the new Covid 19 vaccine, and may appreciate a few tips and a lot of support!

Nurse in black shirt and white mask vaccinating patient in blue shirt and yellow mask.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Steps to take before a vaccination:

Review your medical history, medications, and check with your physician. Talk with friends who have had it to be prepared for typical reactions. Eat and rest well to boost your immune system prior to your appointment, and remember to stay hydrated the morning of your appointment. Set up your visit for a reduced stress time of day, or day of week for your schedule, and get a friend to go with you. Promise yourself a reward to celebrate afterward!

What to do during a vaccination:

Arrive on time (too early or late can increase stress level). Have someone with you who is calming, and repeat a passage or song that brings you peace. Practise deep breathing intermittently through the visit. Hold your partner’s hand and look at them while you are receiving your vaccination. While you are waiting to make sure your body doesn’t react, plan for distraction with: an interesting conversation, easy games, light reading, making a grocery/shopping list, and intermittent deep breathing.

Protecting yourself after your vaccination:

Make sure to follow instructions and call in if you have concerning symptoms. Reduce your activity and stress, and get plenty of rest. Eat healthy foods and stay hydrated. Do continue to move around and stay busy, take an easy walk, and continue mild activity as you are able. Make sure to keep a record in your personal medical file.

Finally, give your self that treat you planned: a new book, desert, or coffee with a friend… and keep this positive experience in mind for your next stressful appointment!

I did finally get the nerve up to get my Covid 19 vaccine. Even though I was nervous, I planned ahead and put all these tools into practise. My 24 year old daughter held my hand, and we treated ourselves to a coffee afterwards!

I would love to hear from you! What steps do you take (or teach your patients) to get through medical visits and vaccinations?

You may also be interested in these posts:

Stress, Anxiety, and Heart Health

Caring Caregiver Communication

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