This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions are my own.
Do you have a fear of needles? It’s ok to admit if you do. I will openly admit that I am irrationally terrified of needles. That’s right… I am a grown woman that has experienced birthing three children, and yet I still have a fear of needles.
For as long as I can remember, I have hated anything to do with needles… getting a shot, having my blood drawn, or receiving local anesthesia. My mother said I always put up quite the fight when it came to needles. I remember when I was about 9, I had chickenpox and had to have my blood drawn. My father had to get off work to take me because my mother could no longer hold me down.
When I was a teenager, I got a tiny piece of glass stuck in my toe. It was too close to a nerve so it had to be surgically removed. I opted to be completely put under for the surgery instead of receiving local anesthesia in my toe simply because I was afraid of the needle. And to this day, I still have to take someone with me to a medical appointment if I know I am going to get a shot. And I turn down all surprise shots because I have to mentally prepare for a needle coming anywhere near me. As an adult, it’s a little embarrassing.
But here’s the thing. There is no reason to be embarrassed because it is really not that uncommon. According to the Meg Foundation, 25% of adults, 50% of adolescents, and 63% of kids have a fear of needles. The bad news is that a fear of needles can get in the way of your health decisions and cause you to avoid medical testing, procedures, and vaccines that help to keep you healthy.
And I know this from experience because my fear of needles has gotten in the way of some of my previous health decisions. And most recently needle anxiety has been one of my biggest barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. And 25% of people may avoid getting vaccinated due to needle anxiety just like me.
But you know what… Action is the enemy of anxiety. And the Meg Foundation has resources and simple, proven strategies that can help both children and adults get through needle fears. They want to help that percentage of adults that suffer from needle anxiety Hack The Vax by offering tools to everyone who needs them so we can reach herd immunity faster.
They have a simple call to action: Think, Plan, Go. THINK about someone you know who may secretly be scared of needles. And it’s ok if that person is you. Make a PLAN for yourself, a friend, or a family member using the techniques that work best from the Hack the Vax site. Then encourage you and them to get a vaccine appointment and GO use the getting-over-needle-fears plan.
If you are ready to #HackTheVax, head over to the interactive plan builder. You can explore the strategies on your own or the site can help you create a plan to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, your family, and all of us. It will walk you through each step of preparing for your appointment and then email your final plan directly to your inbox! It’s just that simple.
And everyone can benefit from learning these techniques. The techniques benefit a wide range of people – from anyone who doesn’t like needles to those where needles send fear into their heart. But for people like me with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. And I can’t wait to use my personal plan to conquer my fear of needles at my vaccination appointment… and yes I have scheduled mine. And just a hint, I plan to bring a friend for support.
By making a plan and using the techniques, both you and I can push through needle fears. The more concrete the plan; the better we’ll feel. So, Think, plan, and go get your shot without fear, and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous.