Preparing your Student for Shots At School

Picture of young male in classroom

Your child may be feeling anxious about getting needles at school.
Yes, your child.

The Public Health Nurses work to minimize the time the students are within the clinical environment, and use other techniques to decrease pain and anxiety, in order to help the student through the process. Here are some ways for you to help your child prepare for the clinic day:

  • Make sure your child eats a good breakfast, and brings a healthy lunch to school
  • Have them wear a short sleeve shirt (heavy sweaters and longer sleeve shirts can make them hot and possibly more anxious)
  • Tell your child to use techniques to reduce possible pain and anxiety
    • Wiggle their toes during the immunization
    • Fully relaxing their arm during immunization
    • Taking slow and deep breaths
    • Close their eyes and count
    • Talk to the nurse or to a friend for distraction
    • Hold something in their hand

Anxiousness about medical procedures, with resulting fainting, can be increased in this age group, particularly in females (CDC, 2011). Fainting after vaccines is a symptom of anxiety, not a side effect from a vaccine. It is important that students are observed within the school (including the classroom) after the needle is given for at least 15 minutes. If students appear pale, sweaty, or worried, they will be asked to stay with the nurses at the clinic and lie on a mat. The nurses will do their best to keep the environment safe, protect the child from falling, and give medical attention to them as necessary. It is very important that students tell nurses when they feel unwell after vaccines.

For more information please contact
Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519-355-1071 ext. 5900