Doctor offers tips to help conquer a fear of needles so you can get the COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 6:40 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 13:26:28-05

About 50 million Americans are afraid of needles, and a local doctor is offering some tips to those who have this fear so they can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Trypanophobia is a fear of needles, and for some people who have this phobia, just watching a video which contains needles can cause feelings of doom, dread or even paralyzing fear. This is causing people who have this phobia to struggle with wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Philip Hartman, a family practice physician with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, has some tips to help those people so they can get the vaccine.

"There's a five, four, three, two, one technique for anxiety where you look around you, name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste," Hartman said. "By doing that, you're engaging your senses in a way that doesn't focus on the anxiety provoking item."

Other methods Hartman suggests include simply closing your eyes or repeating a mantra to take your mind off of getting the shot. But his favorite method is taking what you are afraid of and putting it to the tune of happy birthday, making whatever it is you fear a little silly.

Importantly though, Hartman said to remember you aren't simply choosing this needle over no needles.

"If you told me I could quickly have a needle stuck in my arm and removed, and I could keep my eyes closed the whole time if I wanted to, and I don't have to see it, or if I end up hospitalized with [COVID-19], I'm going to have needles in my arm the entire time," Hartman said.