I always faint a few minutes after I get a shot. One doctor said it's because I was nervous or scared, but I don't feel nervous or scared. Is it the medicine in the shot? I really want to know why this is happening and what I can do about it.*
Great question! Shots contain different ingredients, so it's probably not the medication in the shot that's making you faint. That means the explanation your doctor gave is the most likely cause — especially because lots of people get nervous about shots, even if they're not aware of it.
Why would you faint if you're not feeling scared? Our bodies can react in ways that seem unconnected to what we're thinking. It's possible for someone to feel nervous without realizing it.
When we're scared or upset, we can begin to hyperventilate. This kind of fast, shallow breathing lowers the amount of carbon dioxide in our bodies, and that can lead to fainting.
Next time you get a shot, try these tips: Breathe slowly and deeply before the shot and think of something relaxing. Or distract yourself — bring a friend along or play a game that requires intense concentration.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|CDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|What's a Normal Reaction to a Shot? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Fainting Fainting is pretty common in teens. The good news is that most of the time it's not a sign of something serious.|
|Health Care: What Do You Know? How much do you know about taking charge of your health care? Take our quiz and find out!|
|5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.|
|Immunizations Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems.|
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