Fear of needles needn’t stop anyone from getting necessary vaccinations.
“It’s very common to have a fear of needles,” says Dr. Deborah Wiebe, a health psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “For most people, these are manageable fears that can be addressed through a variety of simple pain-management strategies.”
Tips to help ease needle anxiety:
• Some people prefer to know what to expect. Ask the health care professional to explain each step. An accurate, gentle reply such as, “You’ll get a shot in the arm. It will sting briefly, then it will be over,” can be reassuring.
• Use your imagination. Imagine being on a relaxing beach, feeling the warm sun and hearing the waves come in and go out.
• Breathe. Take slow, deep breaths while concentrating on relaxing your muscles.
“Different strategies work for different people, so if one thing doesn’t work, try another,” Dr. Wiebe says.
Visit www.utsouthwestern.edu/patientcare/medicalservices/neuro.html to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in neurology, including psychiatry.
Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson