The Fear of Needles is Growing

In 1995, the incidence of adult needle phobia ranked at 10%. A study in 2012 found a that numbers had risen to 24%.

Similarly, a 2012 survey by Target found 23% of those who didn’t get a flu shot avoided it because of the needle.
For children, the incidence changed from 25% in 1995 to 63% in 2012 — 252% increase in less than 2 decades.
Needle phobia can have some disturbing side effects. Our NIH research showed children with high needle fear were 2.5x less likely to complete their HPV series than those with low fear. Fear of needles is a barrier to health.

Protecting anyone from life-long needle phobia must start from their first memorable experiences with needles. Even with children who are pre-disposed to fainting, other factors play an important role in the development of a health-threatening phobia.If parents and professionals intervene early on in children’s lives, it can help protect them from developing this health-threatening condition. The more vaccines we give in early childhood, the more opportunities for traumatic memory and association with doctors. As we add more vaccines, we MUST add protective ways of decreasing the negative reaction to healthcare.

 

Age isn't the key driver of needle fear - what matters is birth year.

Needle pain management is one of the most effective interventions. During the first encounters with needles, needle pain management and distraction can protect the child from traumatic experience associated with medical procedures and the clinical environment and experience, and prevent the child from developing anxiety and even phobia later in her life.

The best interventions deal with both pain directly as well as fear and focus. Learning to distract oneself from pain is a lifelong coping strategy.

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