COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UCHealth spoke to 11 News about tips for kids and adults who are scared of needles, so people don’t avoid getting shots or treatments they may need.

UCHealth said the fear or phobia of needles is very common among kids and adults, even before the pandemic. Since the pandemic, health experts say it’s been more prevalent as people want the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine but are afraid to get shots.

“The point isn’t necessarily to make you love needles. It’s okay if you don’t. Though just that our anxiety is at at least a milder level, where we don’t avoid getting them, where we don’t avoid getting blood draws or we don’t avoid vaccinations that will help us take care of our health,” said Dr. Courtney Legge of UCHealth Primary Care Lone Tree.

UCHealth reports for many people, the fear of needles feels innate. But, pre-existing anxiety, a heightened sensitivity to pain, and having family members with the same phobia can also create a fear.

“I would say your fear is 100% understandable and valid. It is something scary whenever a shot comes in, it’s understandable that this fear is present. If you need help working through that fear, there are people here to support you,” said Legge.

Health experts say symptoms of a needle fear or phobia include rapid breathing or heart rate, anxiety, sweating, feeling nauseous or even the inability to sleep the night before a shot.

UCHealth says to let your doctor or nurse know you have a fear. Health experts can work with you on breathing exercises and use distractions while getting a shot.

For more extreme phobias, you can do exposure therapy, which slowly helps you built confidence around needles. UCHealth said the patient might start, for example, by simply looking at pictures of needles or think about going to the doctor’s office and end with a successful shot or blood draw visit.

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