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How Smiling Decreases The Pain Of Needle Injections

Some say that you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Smiling might also be able to decrease the pain of a needle injection. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, say that a smile can reduce the pain of needle injection by up to 40%. It can also temper a stressful needle-related physiological response by lowering your heart rate.

Surprisingly, a frown also created the same response. Trying to keep a straight face, however, did not. Sarah Pressman, a professor of psychological science and a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, says, “When facing distress or pleasure, humans make remarkably similar facial expressions that involve activation of the eye muscles, lifting of the cheeks and baring of the teeth…” Those movements have a beneficial effect on reducing stress and discomfort.

The study included over 200 people who were injected with a 25-gauge needle—the same used with a flu shot. Whether you hate or simply tolerate a shot, remember to turn up the corners of your mouth for a moment. There’s some truth to the ‘grin and bear it’ mentality.

Check with your doctor to see if you are up to date on your vaccinations. If you are in need of one, use the pharmacy locator tool to find a pharmacy in our vaccine network. Routine vaccinations are fully covered at Preferred retail pharmacies.