Terrified of needles? Experts give tips on how to face your fears
HALIFAX -- Experts say overcoming a fear of needles is like climbing a ladder, you do it one rung at a time.
Talk of vaccinations has been everywhere the last few months and for some, the idea of getting the needle is overwhelming.
The president of Doctors Nova Scotia says in some cases, just the thought of the injection is the foundation of the phobia.
"It's not always the concept of pain that is problematic," Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie says.
However, there are some methods that can make the process a little more comfortable.
"Having headphones, looking away, not paying attention, trying to avoid looking at the needle, watching it being prepared," says McQuarrie.
MacQuarrie says desensitization can work for some, but showing someone videos of injections can have an undesirable effect.
"It needs to be done in the right way. Desensitization done poorly can actually make the phobia worse," says McQuarrie.
Statistic show one in 10 people have a needle phobia.
When dealing with youth and younger adults, familiarity can be a big help.
Mary-Beth Rowe is the COVID-19 clinic manager at the IWK hospital in Halifax.
Rowe says those who are administering the shot have been given some training on how to talk to the individual getting the needle.
There are also isolation areas within the clinic for those who want to use them.
"The COVID vaccine really isn’t any different than any other childhood vaccine that’s out there. The process is the same," says Rowe.
"Depending on the level of anxiety that the youth may have, we do have the ability that we could immunize them in an office so there is a little bit quieter environment."
Rowe recommends letting the person who is giving the needle know about the phobia and the potential reaction because overcoming the fear of the needle is a team effort.