Don’t let a fear of needles keep you from getting the flu shot this season or stop you from taking medication. These tips from Judith J. Jarvo, a registered nurse with EMD Serono’s patient support program, help both adults and kids — because needle phobia doesn’t discriminate based on age.
“Some medicines need to be taken on a regular schedule to be effective and to maintain optimal health,” explains Jarvo. “If a needle phobia gets in the way that could mean more sick days.”
1. Talk about it. The best first step for overcoming any fear is speaking to someone you trust about your concerns. Children can also draw pictures to express themselves. Some clinics have specialists trained to help you overcome this phobia, so seek support if needed.
2. For pain, keep it simple. For help overcoming the prick of the needle, apply a cold compress beforehand. It can help reduce the initial sting. And decrease your muscle tension by deep breathing or listening to music, anything that will calm you down.
3. Position your body correctly. If you or your child feels dizzy or lightheaded after needles you risk a fall; prevent this by lying down and elevating the legs. Also be sure to keep your child seated on your lap or lying down for a few minutes afterwards.
4. Practice makes perfect. “Practice” by looking at pictures, talking about it with your healthcare practitioner, and using your imagination to visualize yourself getting an injection and being perfectly fine. This will help you become more comfortable with the process and focus on the facts instead of the fear.
5. Create a reward. Both kids and grown-ups can use a much-deserved reward after receiving a needle, which creates a great incentive to get it over with. Get a delicious treat, see a favourite movie, or plan a visit with a friend after your appointment.