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UW Health offers advice for those who are scared of needles ahead of COVID-19 shot

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - For those who are afraid of needles, UW Health is assuring them Thursday that they are not alone.

According to a study from the Journal of Advanced Nursing, about 20-30% of the U.S. population ages 20-40 years of age is afraid of needles in medical procedures. This is also called having trypanophobia.

UW Health says this is a real fear that can cause common symptoms, such as anxiety and worry, or severe symptoms, like fainting or nausea. As the COVID-19 rollout goes on in the state, doctors acknowledge that a fear of needles may hinder someone from going to get their vaccine.

Clinical health psychologist and behavioral health manager, Victoria Egizio, said these fight or flight responses are normal.

“We want to try to tackle those thoughts, calm the brain and body down and help people focus on their motivation to get the vaccine,” said Egizio.

Egizio gave a few suggestion for people who are coping with a fear of needles, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanding Monday to all Wisconsinites ages 16 and older.

  • Before, during and after vaccination, use belly breathing to calm the body.
  • During the vaccination, a positive distraction can be useful, like using essential oils that trigger positive memories or talking with the person giving the vaccine.
  • Prior to vaccination, focus on positive, hopeful things. For example, getting a vaccination will help family and friends stay safe.

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