Raleigh-based therapist says 'fear of needles' may affect up to 25% of population

RALEIGH, N.C. -- We see the videos all of the time of people calmly sitting with their sleeve rolled up, not even batting an eye when that vaccine needle pierces the skin.

But for millions of people, the thought of going through this is alarming and even terrifying.

Raleigh-based therapist Stephanie Turner says 'fear of needles' may be a problem for up to 25 percent of the population. And for seven to 10 percent, it's extreme fear.

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"Dizziness, fatigue, and anxiety, heart palpitations. Blood pressure raised up. But then also for some people it can actually go into total avoidance, where people who are not even seeking medical treatments or dental treatments, so it can be really difficult for people. Turner says some people will develop syncope, vasovagal syncope, when they actually faint.

So then, what do you do in this age of COVID, when so much depends on getting vaccinated?

"There are relaxation techniques like deep breathing. You can do visualization, distraction works very well," said Turner.

She suggests engaging in activities that will keep your mind off the actual injection. "Also, cognitive reframing, so we could look at the situation differently, reminding yourself of why you're doing it," she added. "In this case with for example, COVID-19 vaccinations, we're doing that protect not only ourselves but others."

Turner says if you do have this fear, it's important to talk to your health care provider before you get the injection. She says they know certain techniques that can help you relax and make it much easier for you.