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Nervous about needles? You are not alone. The majority of children, 20-50% of adolescents, and 20-30% of adults have needle fears (1). Here’s the good news: There are evidence-based practices you can try that are proven to reduce fear and pain.

Try the CARD system (2)

Here are some ideas for each category (3):

Get comfortable -> Wear a comfy short sleeve shirt. Have a snack before and after your shot. Apply numbing cream 30 – 60 minutes before your shot to reduce pain.

Ask questions -> What will happen at the appointment? Can I get the vaccine in a private space?

Relax -> Take some deep belly breaths. Listen to music that makes you feel calm. Bring someone with you for support.

Distract yourself -> Talk to someone. Watch something on your phone. Read a book.

Fear of needles is real. There is no shame in needle fear. If you need accommodations, ask. You deserve quality care. Bringing someone with you who can help advocate for you can also really help manage anxiety.

CARD is a fantastic tool for those with low to moderate needle fears. If you are severely phobic, interventions from a registered psychologist could be more helpful (4).

Let us know tools you have used to help manage needle anxiety ↴