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Needle Phobia

Needle phobia is an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or needles. Studies suggest 63% of young adults – those born in 2000 or later – fear needles. Over the past 40 years, we have added 30 injections to a child’s vaccine schedule, with children recieving booster getting up to 5 injections in one visit. For most people who have this fear, it develops around age 4 or 5 with a bad immunization experience. This fear can lead to reduced adherence to future vaccinations, such as HPV and the flu shot.


Additionally, about 3-5% of women and 1-2% of men have a genetic predisposition to getting light-headed or fainting (ie vasovagal syncope) in response to needle procedures. While this can lead to an avoidance or fear of needles, it starts out as physiologic response first. Two meta-analyses showed Buzzy® provided significant pain and fear relief – a 40% to 74% decrease for children, and a better experience for adults when receiving an flu shot. Buzzy® is the only clinically proven needle fear solution, which has blocked pain from 35MM needle procedures and is proven effective in over 50+ clinical trials.


In addition to treating the physical pain asssociated with needle fear, there are other tools that can help. Distraction is an incredible tool to mediate both fear and pain in needle procedures. Numerous studies show the effectiveness of distraction in reducing pain and negative emotions during injections. According to clinical research, Buzzy® Pain Relief can reduce IV needle pain by 50%; some studies have looked at both pain and fear. Used with DistrACTION® Cards, Buzzy® can almost completely eliminate pain (0.53 on a 10 point scale, Inal S.). The physiology of cold and vibration, called Gate Control, naturally blocks out the competing stimulation of pain. Controlling as many aspects of a medical visit as possible is one way to control your fear of needles.


Distraction is an incredible tool to mediate both fear and pain in needle procedures.


For Needle Phobia
Pain control is maximized by using Buzzy®’s ice wings to cool/numb and vibration to desensitize the area directly for 30-60 seconds, then move Buzzy® just proximal (toward the head or spine) during the shot. When injections burn, the pain can be relieved by rubbing Buzzy®’s cold and vibration over the area after the medicine is in.


Put an arm around your child age 4+ and hold Buzzy® on the site for about 30 seconds before the shot. Even with Buzzy® there will be dull touch sensations (those are transmitted on different nerves that Buzzy® doesn’t block) so use distraction questions or DistrACTION® cards to entertain and pull attention away if the child already has a needle phobia.


When the injection is ready, move the Buzzy® up and keep pressing on the nearest bony surface to maximize vibration transmission. If multiple immunizations are being given, change out the cold packs on each arm so the sites each have 30 seconds of numbing.


Distraction can reduce pain by up to 50%, often better than medical pain relief, which can have a positive effect on reducing needle phobia. Use DistACTION® cards to support efforts to reduce needle phobia and needle pain. These brightly colored cards on a convenient snap ring make a parent or staff able to distract like a pro! Simply flip a card toward your child and ask the age-appropriate question on the back. Medical professionals can easily attach the DistrACTION® card ring or individual cards to a badge.