Trypanophobia sounds just as scary as it means. Trypanophobia is the fear of needles of medical procedures involving injections. Having a fear of needles is common and can be the result of memories from poor or traumatizing experiences with needles. This fear can be fueled by family members who have phobias or learning negative information about needles.

Someone who has a fear of needles can experience an array of symptoms/reactions such as:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety from the sight of a needle
  • Medical fears or hypochondria
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

If you or someone you know has a fear of needles, try using some of these tips and tricks below to help calm your nerves the next time you get a vaccine or blood draw:

  • Let your doctor or physician know about your fear ahead of time
  • Distract yourself
    • Take a deep breath and focus on your breathing
    • Have your nurse or health care provider use other techniques to keep you distracted or keep the needle out of your line of sight
    • Talk about a random topic or sing a song aloud
  • Change your thinking
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy in which a therapist can help explore your fear of needles by helping you to think differently about your fear and how they affect you.
    • Exposure therapy is a type of therapy in which needles can be exposed to you by your therapist and thoughts that may trigger your fear. Examples of techniques your therapist may use include showing a photo of a needle or have you safely hold a needle.
  • Medication
    • If necessary, your doctor can either numb the local area of where the injection will occur or have you take medication to help sedate you and ease any anxiety.

Are you ready to tackle your fear of needles and receive your COVID-19 vaccine? UofL Health offers five fast and convenient drive-thru locations for you to receive your shot. Schedule an appointment online for our newest location, Cardinal Stadium, by visiting UofLHealth.org.

For other vaccinations, including your yearly flu shot or tetanus shot, contact one of our 165 primary care providers by scheduling an appointment on the UofL Physicians – Primary Care website today, or by calling 502-588-4343.

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Article by:

Aundrea Lewis, MBA, RN, NE-BC

Aundrea Lewis currently serves as the chief nursing officer at UofL Health - Peace Hospital. Aundrea joined Peace Hospital in June 2008. Prior to becoming the chief nursing officer, she served as director of nursing and nurse manager for Peace Hospital. Mrs. Lewis received her BSN from Spalding University and her MBA from Sullivan University. She is a board-certified nurse executive, from the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC). Mrs. Lewis formerly served on the Board for Bridgehaven in Louisville and is a former member of The Leadership Louisville Bingham Fellows. She has been named to Who’s Who among African American Leaders in Louisville twice and was a YMCA Black Achievers Adult Recipient in 2013.

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