July 18, 2022

How to Overcome Your Fear of Needles

Key Takeaways

  • Fear of needles is common. The CDC estimates 25% of adults and 2 in 3 children have a strong fear of needles. 
  • Fear of needles can impact your quality of life, health, longevity, and the health of your children. 
  • Common reactions to needles include anxiety, panic attacks, blood pressure spike, insomnia, dizziness or fainting, and more. 
  • Strategies to help you overcome your fear of needles include: scheduling needle injection at home, preparing a coping strategy, looking away, lying down, and more.

Fear is an interesting emotion. It has the power to overtake our body and mind in response to anything we might perceive as a threat. It keeps us safe by triggering a strong response to dangerous situations like a house fire or physical attack. However, it also causes us to react similarly to non-dangerous situations like public speaking or an upcoming exam.

Fear is meant to keep us safe, but, sometimes, it can have the opposite effect. This is especially true when it comes to life saving medical situations like needles or injections. And it’s more common than you think.

The CDC estimates that nearly 25% of adults and 2 in 3 children have a strong fear of needles. It can even cause individuals to skip vaccine appointments. Yet, needles and injections are an important part of modern healthcare, and avoiding them can seriously impact your health and well being.

So, how can you overcome your fear of needles?

Here are a few ways to help you understand how being afraid of needles can affect you, common reactions to needles, and ways to overcome your fear of needles.

How does being afraid of needles affect you?

Fear of needles can have a serious impact on your life, including areas such as:

  • Quality of life - Receiving a jab might be unpleasant in the moment, but the fear and anxiety leading up to an appointment can impact your quality of life for weeks or months. This includes loss of sleep, constant dreading, and stress.
  • Health - Avoiding routine lab tests and blood work due to a fear of needles can lead to missed diagnoses, poorly managed medical conditions, or worse, death. A timely example is the COVID-19 vaccine, in which 10% of adults report they may skip the vaccine out of fear.
  • Longevity - Skipping appointments and preventative care measures can have serious consequences on your health and longevity. Certain cancers are treatable if detected early enough, but avoiding lab tests can miss these early opportunities and lead to avoidable suffering.
  • Children’s health - Parents with a fear of needles may avoid getting their children vaccinated or skip lab tests. This puts the child’s health at risk and could lead to serious long term consequences.

Common reactions to needles

We all react to fear differently, but identifying the common reactions can help you prepare and adapt when the time comes. Here are a few common reactions to needles:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Blood pressure spike
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Racing heart rate
  • Avoiding the doctor or medical care

Now that we understand how needles can affect you and common reactions to needles, let’s dive into how to overcome your fear of needles.

Tips for how to overcome your fear of needles

Schedule needle injections at home

Unfamiliar settings can heighten your anxiety and make you feel uncomfortable. Especially if you have to wait for the injection in a public setting like a waiting room. That’s why many patients opt for the comfort and privacy of their own homes rather than a doctor’s office or lab. Services like Getlabs allow you to schedule blood draws or lab work at home in a safe and familiar environment.

Prepare a coping strategy

Feeling more in control of a situation can reduce anxiety and stress. Preparing different techniques and coping strategies in advance of an injection can help you better manage how you react. This can include relaxation techniques like deep breathing, focusing on surrounding objects, or listening to relaxing music.

Communicate

It’s always important to communicate your experiences and fears around needles to the healthcare professional performing the injection. The fear is common enough that they can help accommodate and support you.

Look away

Watching all the preparation that goes into the injection or the needle itself will only heighten your anxiety, so it’s best to look away when the time comes.

Lie down

If you know you’re susceptible to fainting or getting dizzy around needles, choose to lie down before receiving the needle stick.

Take medication

Certain medications can help take the edge off if you’re anxious around needles. However, make sure to talk to your doctor beforehand to ensure the medication won’t interfere with any test results or the injection.

Distract yourself

There are plenty of ways to distract yourself while getting a shot. Watch television, listen to music, use an iPad, or simply stare out the window, whatever you need to do to take your mind off the shot is a useful tool to overcome your fear of needles.

Receive needle injections at home

Fear is a natural emotion, but it shouldn’t prevent you from receiving life saying medical care like vaccines, routine health appointments, and lab work. Utilizing the above tips should help you navigate some of your fear responses and make the process easier. However, if you’re searching for a comfortable and convenient alternative to visiting the lab or doctor’s office for injections, then at-home care is right for you.

Getlabs provides the perfect solution for patients who are afraid of needles and want to receive injections in the comfort of their homes. With over 5,000 different lab tests available, you can book a nearby phlebotomist for many of the tests your doctor may recommend.

If you want to learn more about Getlabs, visit www.getlabs.com/faq to learn more.

This page is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice regarding any of the tests and conditions referenced above are advised to consult with a licensed clinician. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider regarding a medical condition and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information on this page. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital.

Book an at-home lab collection

Getlabs sends a nearby medical specialist to you to collect your labs for Labcorp and Quest. Available same-day, nationwide.

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