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Fear of Needles

Fear of Needles

Teen: Dear Dr. Expert,

We have to get our vaccinations this week at school and I'm freaking out! Every time I have to get a shot I feel like I'm going to pass out. And I actually have fainted a couple of times! I'm going to be mortified if I faint in front of everyone. What should I do?

Freaking in Fernie
Dr. Expert: Dear Freaking in Fernie,

You are not alone - certain people do sometimes faint at the sight of needles or blood. This is because of a sudden drop in blood pressure that just happens to some people in these situations.

The good news is that you can do something to stop yourself from fainting. It's called the Applied Tension Technique. All you need to do is tense the major muscles in your body, including your leg, butt, and arm muscles, and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Then release the tension in your whole body for about 20 seconds, and repeat. This increases your blood pressure, so you don't faint. Do this five times in a row before getting the needle or when you start to feel lightheaded. Good luck!