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Needle phobia
Any suggestions?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

I am currently livid with DS9 (although we've just had a cuddle), who has just paid $70 of his pocketmoney not to have a vaccination that he watched his younger brother and i get without flinching last week. There is also a consequence involving a toy he dearly wanted. In total the nurse and I have spent alnost two hours trying to get him to work through the fear.

Anyway, he clearly has a phobia of needles. Has anyone else dealt with this type of an issue? Was professional counselling needed.

ETA. the vaccination is Hep A, but unfortunately we can't say to him "well, you can't come to Malaysia with us in a fortnight if you don't have it", as we could last time. This follow-up shot should provide decades of cover.

Edited by dadathome, 22 January 2013 - 01:21 PM.


#2 lishermide

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

Have you tried EMLA cream? You can buy a single dose application from the chemist. Apply an hour before the needle and the area will be numb and painless. Do a trial run allowing him to push his nail into the area to prove it really takes away the pain.

My daughter has injections every day at the moment, it's been a life saver.

#3 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE (lishermide @ 22/01/2013, 02:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you tried EMLA cream? You can buy a single dose application from the chemist. Apply an hour before the needle and the area will be numb and painless.


He was offered EMLA today (after we went back again to the surgery), but I think was too upset to realise what was being explained to him about it. He'd decided before today's second vist that if he didn't see the needle he'd be OK, but unfortunately the nurse had it out when we walking into the consulting room.

It may be worth another try, but I was also amazed that the financial disincentive didn't work for him, nor the toy threat.

Edited by dadathome, 22 January 2013 - 01:26 PM.


#4 Pull Up A Beanbag

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

I don't have a phobia, but I've had a LOT of blood test needles with tricky to find veins.

I get through them by scrunching up my eyes, face away from the needle injection site and forcibly wish myself away to a field of flowers, where I inspect them in minute details until the whole ordeal is over.

#5 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

QUOTE (Soprano-Cat @ 22/01/2013, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I get through them by scrunching up my eyes, face away from the needle injection site and forcibly wish myself away to a field of flowers, where I inspect them in minute details until the whole ordeal is over.


Ta - I suspect he needs some professional help to find and focus on his field of flowers....


#6 lishermide

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

I do understand your pain, my daughter was the same about the dentist. No amount of financial bribes or disincentives ever worked! The needles for us have been a matter of gradually getting used to them, now she's had so many it's barely an issue. She learnt that the fear and anticipation is way worse than the actual needle prick.

I'd recommend buying yourself some EMLA so he can trial the feel of it.

DD actually has to watch the needle go in. She can't deal with not watching.

#7 HerringToMarmalade

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:36 PM

Maybe talk to him again about vaccinations, what they do and why they're important. Could you go again and make sure the needle is out of sight when you go in? Then have him look away as they get it out. Maybe he could listen to an ipod or something to distract him.

I also had a bad needle phobia and I would have happily taken the option of paying money or losing a toy if it meant not getting the needle.

Edited by HerringToMarmalade, 22 January 2013 - 01:37 PM.


#8 Pull Up A Beanbag

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:44 PM

QUOTE (dadathome @ 22/01/2013, 01:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ta - I suspect he needs some professional help to find and focus on his field of flowers....


I'm not sure if that came with a dose of snark attached...

I'm just suggesting that perhaps encouraging him to think very hard about something very detailed might at least get him through the needle experience.

I certainly didn't get any professional help - the Doctor doing the needle suggested it, and I was a child at the time.

#9 CallMeFeral

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

I have a needle phobia. I have to not look at the needle (at any stage) and it's better if the person talks to me/distracts me when it's going in. It's not really about the pain, so the cream wouldn't help.

I have no idea how you get a child to agree to that, but it would definitely be a start getting the surgery on board and NOT having the needle out when he comes in! Probably things like arranging no waiting time so he can't get worked up, someone else there to talk to him and distract him about something, not showing the needle, etc.
Otherwise I guess you might have to consider some counselling sad.gif

#10 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

QUOTE (lishermide @ 22/01/2013, 02:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do understand your pain, my daughter was the same about the dentist.

Oh dog, why did you need to remind me that he has dentist appointment on Thursday sad.gif

I suppose what I'm trying to think through is a process for getting past the phobia. He loves science and fully understands the value of vaccination.

A more serious distraction such as Ipod or other plan is robably a good one, maybe combined with EMLA (which he's had when much younger) once explained to him. And needle out of sight too - that was the first thing he reacted to as he walked into the room earlier.

#11 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE (Soprano-Cat @ 22/01/2013, 02:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not sure if that came with a dose of snark attached...


No, absolutely no snark intended - the comment was more that we tried to guide him towards visualisation today (it works for me), but he couldn't get there.


#12 emlis22

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

I have a really strong needle phobia. My arm is aching and I'm literally twitching at the thought. I remember through uni I would BAWL (yes I was 20 haha) in the doctors office. I'm a little better now. NEVER look at the needle, get the nurse to keep talking to you and it's over before you know it. I also get really really, light headed afterwards, so maybe a really good meal before you go might help (coax him with his favourite perhaps).

#13 librablonde

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

I have a huge needle phobia which is very unfortunate when undergoing IVF  wink.gif
I can highly recommend Emla cream patches for your DS (rather than just buying a whole tube of the cream). They're expensive but so-o-o worth it. Leave the cream on under the patch for 30 mins and he'll be fine. Ring your local pharmacies and see who stocks it near you.

#14 dadwasathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

Thanks everyone for your help - I'll talk with him later , and also with the nurse etc. Too much emotion to the fore at present. His decision and my reaction are making me a little nauseous at present.

As for the dentist, I'll also raise that with him, although I don't expect any needles.

#15 neyrie

Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

My daughter has some dramas with needles (thanks to an idiot ED nurse and her thoughtless father and grandmother) but she has anxiety issues in general. It may seem odd advice but it has worked with us, but don't tell him until the last second. Seriously a psychologist suggested this to us. She said the more notice we gave the longer she had time to get herself worked up about it and it really was more the thinking about it than the actual pain. We thought we were doing the right thing about talking about it and getting her used to the idea, nope the complete opposite worked. But get the Dr surgery on board, no mucking, have everything ready but out of sight, get in and just do it before they get a chance to work up. My dr lays her down with the arm hanging out of site and I sit facing her very close and just talk and make her focus on me. Lots of hugs and kisses and a special bakery treat after original.gif

Good luck and have a great holiday original.gif




#16 ~sydblue~

Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:14 PM

I think as much as you are upset, you need to be a bit more understanding. Needle phobias(as with many phobias) can be crippling for some. DH's only needles in 20yrs consisted of the ones he had so he could go to singapore, and a series of needles he had after attending a fire and breathing in toxic fumes.
I actually feel sorry for your son that you bargained with him for money. He is 9yrs old.
I would go with the emla cream, it is a godsend when DD13 has to have blood tests.

#17 30bt

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:05 AM

HI My DD has needle phobia after having meningitis and multiple hospitalisations last year. She is in yr 7 and needs to have her immunizations this year. The play therapist at the children's hospital we attend has given her a buzzy to try. the website is buzzy4shots.com. It works by buzzing on her arm for up to 1 minute before the needle and then when the needle is about to happen it gets moved up higher and the mind follows the buzz and concentrates less on the needle.
There are studies that have been done on this marvellous invention and I'm hoping it will work for her!
I am a seconder for emla- try some at home, when he is not stressed, put on his hand or arm and then after 15-20 minutes make him touch it or use a pin to show him that he has no feeling.
All the best


#18 Escapin

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:20 AM

QUOTE (neyrie @ 08/02/2013, 09:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It may seem odd advice but it has worked with us, but don't tell him until the last second. Seriously a psychologist suggested this to us. She said the more notice we gave the longer she had time to get herself worked up about it and it really was more the thinking about it than the actual pain. We thought we were doing the right thing about talking about it and getting her used to the idea, nope the complete opposite worked. But get the Dr surgery on board, no mucking, have everything ready but out of sight, get in and just do it before they get a chance to work up. My dr lays her down with the arm hanging out of site and I sit facing her very close and just talk and make her focus on me. Lots of hugs and kisses and a special bakery treat after original.gif

Good luck and have a great holiday original.gif


As someone with a terrible phobia of needles, I would agree with the above. As an adult I like to count down from 10 to 1, out loud. Gives me something else to think about. Maybe that would help too.

#19 MissingInAction

Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:05 AM

I really struggle with needles.  
I lie down for them, I tell them straight up that I'm not keen and will probably need to lie there for a bit afterwards (I usually dry reach a bit afterwards and go all dizzy like).  During the actual needle I will focus on something like my toes, for example, and try to be very very aware of my toes.  Or, another method that works really well for me is imagining a "happy time" in my life in as much detail as possible.  Eg:  I'll imagine my most recent birthday party, I'll try to remember exactly who was there, what they were wearing, what they brought with them what we talked bout, what happened, etc.





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