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My blood pressure spikes when I arrive at COVID-19 vaccination sites and I fail the prescreening. What should I do?

Saturday, August 28, 2021, 17:56 GMT+7
My blood pressure spikes when I arrive at COVID-19 vaccination sites and I fail the prescreening. What should I do?
A vaccine taker is getting her blood pressure reading before getting a jab against COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A Ho Chi Minh City-based doctor blames ‘white-coat syndrome’ – a condition where patients experience a spike in blood pressure simply from walking into a clinic – for the high number of individuals failing vaccine pre-screenings due to hypertension.

According to Dr. Tran Duc Si from Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City, people with the white-coat syndrome often experience higher blood pressure at medical facilities compared to at home.

These spikes can also emerge when such individuals change doctors or get checkups for new health conditions.

It is believed that the syndrome is caused by the stress that clinic appointments can create.

In some cases, patients face such severe anxiety that their blood pressure readings spike even before they leave their house.

As it is a circumstantial condition, white-coat syndrome does not require a specific treatment regime — people facing the condition can benefit by simply talking to doctors and seeking mental health consultation from professionals, being tended to by familiar medical practitioners, and enjoying the presence and support of family members during medical procedures.

In order to prevent white-coat hypertension at vaccination venues, residents must be fully aware of the benefits of COVID-19 jabs, as well as vaccination proceedings. They should avoid reading into trivial information that may cause anxiety. 

They are advised to show up at the location in time and find cool, comfortable seating so that they can relax while they wait to be screened.  

During the wait, people should keep their feet on the ground, remain calm, and avoid thinking about the procedure.  

Those who wish to be vaccinated can rest for 30-minutes if their blood pressure readings are too high during the pre-vaccination screening, the doctor stated. 

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