Scared of Needles During Allergy Shots?

Last updated: September 2022

Needle phobia is a big problem for many people. And, not just among kids – in adults too! Years before COVID-19, I was at a small local hospital getting some blood work done. It was such a small hospital that the lab only had 1 person on staff.

I sat down next to another patient waiting in the hallway. This person was a big, burly construction worker (or painter). I saw his paint-spattered clothes and wondered if he was working on a fun project. I love doing remodeling projects on my house!

Fear of needles can impact anyone

The lab technician called him back, and I overheard him say he was afraid of needles. Just then, I heard a loud thud. I jumped up, peeked around the corner, and saw him lying face-first on the floor. I ran towards him and helped lift him back into the lab chair with the lab technician. He was still unconscious. The lab technician exclaimed at me to grab the smelling salts. I said, "Okay, where?"

She was holding him in the chair so he wouldn't fall out and gestured towards the cabinet with her head and said, "That one!"

There were 4 cabinets, so I frantically opened cupboards until she yelled, "That's them!" I held him in the chair while she opened the smelling salts and waved them under his nose. The smelling salts did the job, and he came back to consciousness. The lab technician had him lie down until he felt better.

Then she told me to sit in the lab chair for my blood draw. We were both panting by that point. The technician asked if I was afraid of needles. I rolled my eyes and said, "Are you kidding me? I've had 3 c-sections. A little needle is nothing compared to that!" She was VERY relieved.

Needles for allergy shots

All 3 of my kids had allergy immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots for 5 to 6 years. So being around needles became routine for us. If you have allergy shots, you know that you usually start treatment by getting the shots twice a week. You get 1 needle in each arm, then repeat that again later in the week.

Depending on how you react to your allergy serum, you can move the frequency of immunotherapy to once a week, then once every other week, then once a month until you get to "maintenance."

Making shots seem like "no big deal"

My kids all started shots when they were in 1st or 2nd grade. They had too many asthma attacks in school because the other students came to class with cat and dog dander on their clothes. When my first child started shots, the asthma doctor told me to make sure I set the tone early. To make needles "no big deal" for my kids.

He said kids look to their parents or caregivers to know how to act. If I acted anxious, upset, or scared, my kids would probably follow suit. So, on immunotherapy days, I would say, "Hey, it's Tuesday - shot day! I'll pick you up after school!"

It seemed to work. My kids weren't thrilled about getting shots twice a week but decided that this is what we do. You might as well make the best of it.

Are you afraid of needles? How do you manage?

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