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  • Sam DiFranco

Coping with Covid Vaccine stress

Since early 2020, we have faced much uncertainty and many challenges while navigating new frontiers of change during a global pandemic. So many things look different, so many things feel different, and so many things are different. After facing months of things that are different, we now face decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations and that may result in anxiousness, stress, or other reactions.

Affordable Counseling Center in Brandon Fl. & Tampa Fl. suggests these guidelines.

 Do your research. Fear is often based in the unknown, so learn as much as you can. Consider what is worrying you. Are you concerned about possible side effects, how recommendation decisions are being made, or about how the vaccine works? Once you identify your specific thoughts and concerns, you can search for information that addresses the questions you may have and keep yourself informed. The CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines page (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines) is a great place to start.  Stay up to date. Keep yourself in the loop as progress is made with vaccines and vaccine distribution. Be careful not to get sucked into consuming too much news or social media – stick to a vetted vaccine tracker and allow yourself to take a break from news if it becomes overwhelming or intrusive to your daily routines.  Look towards officials you trust. The State of New Hampshire’s webpage (www.nh.gov/covid19) is a helpful resource. Other trusted sources regarding vaccine safety may include Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are also reputable sources. It may also be helpful to find information from multiple trusted sources.  Think about the benefits compared to the risks. We don’t know everything about the new vaccines, but so far leading trials have been safe. Under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), known and potential benefits must outweigh the known and potential risks before a vaccine will be approved for use. Health and medical experts believe getting the vaccine will help you develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 and help keep you and your family safe.  Make decisions in your best interest. If your anxiety about vaccination is overwhelming, intrusive, or too much to cope with, it may be helpful to communicate with your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Communicating with a physician or a therapist may help you identify your specific concerns and may help you develop strategies for managing what you’re experiencing.  Common side effects may include pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness, or headache.  Helpful tips for managing pain, discomfort, or other side effects include putting a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the injection site; using or exercising your arm; drinking plenty of fluids; and dressing lightly in comfortable clothing.  Remind yourself that side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. It may be helpful to contact your physician if redness or tenderness of the injection site increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are worrying and don’t go away within a few days.

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