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CDC's "Needle Fears and Phobia"

Fear of pain and discomfort from the bite of a needle when getting medication, a vaccination, or other fluids are drawn, is common. This is often seen in younger children when there are fewer ways for them to independently manage their fears appropriately and will seek help from their parents or other caregivers -- this behavior is typically bucked as children age.

However, this is not always the case as these childhood fears can persist into adolescence and adulthood and develop into something more akin to a phobia. For phobias of needles, there is a combination of both learned experiences of pain from prior interactions and a biological factor related to the perceived abhorrent idea of procedures involving needles.

Given the powerful physiological response a phobia can have on an individual, it can be difficult for individuals to even consider procedures that may involve needles. This can even be seen in the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated vaccination rates with as many as 1 in 10 people may delay receiving the inoculation due to these fears. Additionally, people with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, as well as those with other disabilities or conditions as they related to sensation or movement, may also have more than average difficulty in managing needle-based fears.

It is important as a healthcare provider to increase your own awareness of fears and phobias, especially, as they may impact perspective patient care and interaction -- such as is the case with needle fears.

For more information on:

  • When fears become phobia

  • Understanding fears and phobias

  • Managing fears and phobias

  • What parents, caregivers, and friends can do

  • What healthcare providers can do

Refer to the CDC's article, "Needle Fears and Phobia -- Find Ways to Manage":

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