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Lifehack: Shots and Vaccinations with Less Fear

Today I had to get a TB test as part of the hospital’s annual “Check our employees for TB” thing. I hate shots. Not fun. And unlike giving blood, I don’t even get that “Yay I’m doing something worthwhile” feeling.

Here’s a hack I used today to make my shot virtually painless.

Use your free arm to pinch your upper ear while getting the shot. Focus on that feeling, on how you control the pain yourself.

Works like a charm. Sure I felt pain in my ear, but it was my pain–something I was doing and could stop. Somehow that makes it ok, like the pain you feel because you’ve been working out. As soon as I felt her remove the needle, I stopped pinching. All better.

Now my arm just needs to not swell up.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

RacerX January 14, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Hating shots and being diabetic has been no fun πŸ™

Money Blue Book January 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

When I was I kid I used to be a bit afraid of needles…then I decided to confront the fear head on by looking at the needle do its work as I sat in the chair. Looking at it helps to add an element of predictability, thereby lessening the pain. Works for me in a weird way.

vh January 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm

heh heh heh heh! Me, too! Where I grew up, we had to have a half dozen shots a year, some of them–like typhoid and cholera–truly horrible. Still phobic, to this day!

I use LaMaze breathing exercises (like yoga breathing, guys…) to get a grip. Worked on childbirth, works on shots!

But I have to admit, much as I hate injections, the flu shot has changed my life. For the better!

CatherineL January 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Great tip Mrs M. A friend once told me that if you’re in a lot of pain you should hit your thumb with a hammer. I definitely like your way better though – it sounds kinda like accupuncture.

mrsmicah January 14, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Wow, Catherine, it would have to be a heck of a lot of pain before I’d go that route.

However when I have bed cramps I do sometimes slap my forearm a lot. That’s what inspired the ear pinching.

Lily January 14, 2008 at 10:52 pm

My dentist when I was a kid told me to take deep breaths as he injected the anesthetic. It totally works. Lamaze / yoga breathing may work better, but just taking really deep, regular breaths will be almost as good. (Of course, the downside is that every person who’s given me a shot has asked me, “Are you okay?” Because the deep breathing makes it seem like I’m freaking out.)

Donating blood was kind of bad … 10 minutes with a thick needle in my arm. But at least I was doing something really worthwhile for society. And deep breathing definitely helped me get through those 10 minutes!

mrsmicah January 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Oh yeah, Lily, lots of deep breathing and watching tv and thinking about society is what helps me with donating. I tried bringing my teddy bear once but they said I looked too nervous…

Susan January 15, 2008 at 10:40 am

I’m not fond of being on the receiving end of shots either, and I’m a nurse! But from a nurse’s perspective, if I’m giving a shot (let’s say in the deltoid), I’ll tell the individual to just let her arm dangle loosely, turn her head, take a deep breath, and then let it out as I give the shot.

I’d have to say, though, the worst part of getting a shot is the anticipation of it! If I can get everything done swiftly and smoothly, sometimes the patient doesn’t even realize it’s over and done with! πŸ™‚

Susan January 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

Oh, one more thing! Mrs. Micah, I say you go ahead and bring your Teddy Bear along if he helps you! πŸ˜‰

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