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Do needles make you nervous? Here's 3 tips to help you cope before getting the COVID-19 vaccine

A psychologist offers 3 tips to help you feel less nervous.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One of the more persistent fears for many people is that of needles, known as Trypanophobia.

"It's pretty common out there," Dr. David Chesire, licensed psychologist at UF Health in Jacksonville said.

Chesire said one in 10 people has a fear of needles. However, even those who are not fully phobic can still be a little shaken.

"One in five people are generally uncomfortable around needles, so much, they might not go get the vaccine," Chesire explained.

Of course, it is always good motivation to get a reality check about how important it is to deal with all this.

Dr. Gregory Poland is the Vaccine Team Director at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He said research is ongoing to develop a nasal or oral vaccine. However, for now, the shots are critical.  

"I know nobody likes needles, but, believe me, one or two injections is nothing compared to the number of needle sticks you'd get [...] in the ICU," Poland explained.

Dr. Chesire has three tips for those reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to a fear of needles:

1. Coach Yourself Up

Chesire said when you start having negative thoughts about the shot, you sould stop and reframe your thinking.

Coach yourself up to drill positive thoughts into your head.  He suggests saying over and over to yourself, "This isn't going to be that bad. I'll be vaccinated and get back to my life."

"Words matter," Chesire said.

2. Take Action By Distraction

"Some people will whistle or hum," Chesire said. 

You can also strike up a conversation with the person giving the shots and distract your thoughts. Try taking deep breaths, as well. 

"Before you know it, you'll be finished and the shot is over with," Chesire explained.

3. Don't Look

"Certainly you don't want to stare at your shoulder when you get the shot," Chesire said. "Look away. Don't watch it."

It's important to understand that it is not a sign of weakness or childlike behavior to look away.

 "Courage is a funny thing," Chesire said quoted a George Clooney character. "First you have to do the thing that scares you the most and then the courage comes afterwards."

Credit: AP