As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue, Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that starting March 29, every Ohio adult over the age of 16 who wants a vaccine would be eligible to get one. While many are excited by the news and to start scheduling their appointments, a handful of people are now facing a new anxiety: trypanophobia.
Trypanophobia is the extreme fear of needles; it is estimated that nearly 10% of people have this fear. It can make procedures, like getting the vaccine, feel like an overwhelming task. While there's no permanent solution for ridding yourself of phobias, there are things you can do before and when receiving your vaccine to help make the situation feel more manageable.
Exposure to the experience
Helping yourself get used to what the experience will look like is a very easy first step to alleviate your nerves. There are dozens of videos on TikTok, Youtube and other social media sites of people receiving their vaccine. Seeing the actual process can give you a better idea of what's to come, so you feel prepared for the day. It lets you create a more detailed game plan for the day of your vaccination.
Talk about your fear
Talking about what is making you scared can be another way of helping you mentally prepare. Addressing what exactly is never-wracking about the situation can help you develop better solutions for when you receive it. You can also ask someone to come with you for moral support. They may not be able to enter the room with you, but they can be there for you before or after. Be sure to also let whoever is administering your vaccine know that you are scared of needles. They are trained for this kind of situation, and many try to make sure to do all they can to make the experience easier for you.
Remember why you are here
Getting the vaccine is part of the long-term solution for getting the world back to a point of normality. Thinking about the opportunities available to you once you are vaccinated can help you reason why you want to get it. Think of being able to safely see people again, the return of large-scale events like concerts, or going back to classes in-person. All of these can be your motivation to seek out a vaccine, and holding on to your optimism instead of your fear can help you relax when the time comes.
Look for distractions
When you are about to receive your vaccine, try not to let yourself see the needle. Instead, focus on counting how many blue things you see, how many floor tiles there are, or even what you want to get as a treat after your shot. Distracting yourself allows you to shift your focus to something other than the needle and lets the whole process go quicker.
Seek professional help
Sometimes we can't face our fears on our own. If you feel like your fear of needles is too overwhelming to try and face yourself, then try reaching out to a professional who can help you work through it. They can give you more personalized coping mechanisms to help you start conquering your fear once and for all. There is no shame in seeking help, and sometimes it's your best solution.
If you're looking to schedule an appointment for a vaccine, visit the Ohio Department of Health to check your eligibility.