Do Injections Give You The Needle?
Trembling, palpitations, cold sweats, nausea, or even a blood pressure drop: do needles have that effect on you?
You can’t get away from it: blood sugar checking and insulin injections rhyme with needle sticks. Yet, the stress caused by a fear of needles can cause your blood sugar to spike, and on top of all that, your skin’s surface can suddenly become hypersensitive—ouch! What a way to make matters even worse!
Trypa… what? Trypanophobia is the extreme fear of needles, more specifically injections.
Know that approximately 10% of the population has needle phobia or an intense fear of needles and sharp objects. This irrational fear is often acquired at a young age, either following a bad experience or because the child witnessed the negative reaction of a parent or trusted adult. The person therefore associates needles with danger, which is what causes the resulting physical, involuntary reaction—no, it’s not “all in your head”!
That means that watching someone else check their blood sugar or calmly inject their insulin could help you get over this fear, little by little.
Easing the pain
It’s scientifically proven that you can reduce pain by looking elsewhere, so use a lancing device or an insulin pen that completely hides the needle.
• Pinch the fatty tissue, or use ice, to numb the injection site.
• Prick the side of your finger: there are fewer nerve endings there than on the fleshy, more sensitive tip.
• Don’t reuse needles and lancets: dull equipment will cause you even more pain.
• Since alcohol dries out the skin, making it more sensitive, opt for warm water and clean the injection site with soap.
• Vary the fingers you use. Pick a pattern to ensure you’re not using the same site over and over again. And, if a finger is sore, don’t use it again until it heals. (The advantage of insulin pumps is that you can change the injection site every two-to-three days only.)
• When having blood drawn, tell the medical staff that you’re uncomfortable with needles. If it’s been difficult to find your veins in the past, mention that too.
Above all, as strong as it is, don’t let your fear hinder your treatments and damage your health!
CHEO (2012). Needle Fears & Phobia. Retrieved from: https://www.cheo.on.ca/en/resources-and-support/resources/P5018E.pdf. Accessed August 16 2021.
Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Needle Phobia – Overcoming Fear of Needles. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/emotions/needle-phobia.html. Accessed August 16 2021.
Gary Scheiner (2007). Fight the Phobia! Fear of needles can be conquered. Retrieved from: https://integrateddiabetes.com/Articles/insu/Needle%20Phobia%20article%20edited.pdf. Accessed August 16 2021.
Health (2014). 7 Ways to Make Blood-Sugar Testing Less Painful. Retrieved from: https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20469215,00.html. Accessed August 16 2021.
Le Monde (2012). Trypanophobie – Les piqûres moins douloureuses quand on regarde ailleurs. Retrieved from: https://www.lemonde.fr/big-browser/article/2012/05/24/trypanophobie-les-piqures-sont-moins-douloureuses-quand-on-regarde-ailleurs_5987151_4832693.html. Accessed August 15 2021.
Scott Johnson (2015). 10 tips for a fear of needles with diabetes (+1 bonus!). Retrieved from: https://www.mysugr.com/en/blog/fear-of-needles-with-diabetes/. Accessed August 16 2021.
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