Getting Started with Needle Care™
If you experience needle anxiety, you’re not alone. Nearly 25% of adults feel nervous around needles. Luckily, there are tried and true methods for reducing pain, increasing your sense of control, and receiving medical care despite the fear.
Here are the first steps toward making your needle experience as painless as possible.
Needle anxiety comes in many forms—whether it’s related to the sight of blood or the pain itself, being held down in the past and worrying it might happen again, the medicine you’re receiving, or a general lack of control. Everyone reacts differently, and your anxiety might not be the same as someone else’s. Get specific about what bothers you. It will lead to better coping strategies.
Talk it out
You might think needle fear is unusual or embarrassing, but it’s a common and shared experience. You may have learned to keep it to yourself, but having someone to talk to can help tame anxiety. Find people you trust—friends, family, your healthcare team, or communities talking about needle sensitivity online.
Prep your skin
Treating the pain can significantly decrease fear in the face of needles. Start ahead of your appointment with an anesthetic cream (stronger varieties require a prescription). Ask your health pro to numb the skin with ice or a cold spray. During the procedure, they can apply pressure or vibration around the injection site or even pinch lightly somewhere else on your body.
Make a plan
Having a plan will make it easier to communicate with your care team. If you have a plan in place before you arrive, you can share what bothers you and your specific preferences with your nurse or doctor.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Explore our other guides (coming soon) for more information, ideas, tools, and techniques for compassionate care.
- Taddio, Ipp et al. Survey of the prevalence of immunization non-compliance due to needle fears in children and adults. Vaccine. 2012;30(32):4807-12
- McMurtry CM, Noel M, Taddio A et al. Interventions for Individuals With High Levels of Needle Fear: Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Quasi-Randomized Controlled Trials. Clin J Pain. 2015;31(10 Suppl):S109-S123. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000273