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Needle phobia

Needle phobia
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Don’t let fear of needles stop you getting your travel shots

Phobia of needles and injections is really common: it affects about one in ten people. So, we get a lot of needle-phobes in our clinics.

Needle phobia is a serious matter because it prevents people from accessing healthcare. It may mean that they take risks with their health – for example, by travelling without getting the vaccinations they need. It may also prevent people from travelling at all, particularly if they are not able to get shots like yellow fever or meningococcal meningitis. Some countries will not let you in unless you can produce a certificate of vaccination for yellow fever or meningococcal meningitis.

Even if you don’t think you’ll be able to face having your shots done, please make an appointment with us anyway. We can help you assess the risk of exposure to travel diseases, and we can advise on avoidance of disease vectors.

Tell us about your needle phobia when you make your appointment, and we’ll offer extra support to help you stay safe on your travels.

Why do I faint when I see or think about travel shots?

For many people trypanophobia takes the form of feeling faint. The reason for this is that the sight or thought of a needle triggers fear, which causes the heart rate and blood pressure to rise and then rapidly drop. The fall in blood pressure causes the patient to faint.

Our practitioners are trained to look after people when they faint, and there’s no reason for you to be embarrassed about fainting during your travel health appointment. At Canadian Travel Clinics we’ve seen it all before. It’s part of our service to care for you if you feel faint, and we don’t mind.

How can I get travel shots if I have needle phobia?

If you have needle phobia, let us know before your appointment.

If you’re a fainter or worried about fainting during your travel health shots, let us know when you arrive at your appointment. We’ve got some tricks to help you avoid it and to keep you comfortable. We’d like to give you some extra reassurance, too.

We can help with hypersensitivity to injection pain as well.

You might also want to ask for the information your travel health adviser provides in a written format to look at later. If you’re feeling uncomfortable you may not be able to take in everything the travel health practitioner says to you during your appointment.

Or you can ask for a separate injection appointment. Our travel clinics are centrally located – our Vancouver travel health centre is in Downtown, for example – so you can always come back another day for your shots.

What causes needle phobia?

There seems to be a link between needle phobia and unhappy memories of childhood medical procedures. So, if you had a lot of blood tests or needle procedures during childhood, you may be more likely to have a needle phobia.

Further information about needle phobia

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Hospital in England has a leaflet with helpful advice on overcoming fear of needles. It includes:

  • guidance on a technique called applied tension, which you can use to avoid fainting
  • tips about how to breathe for relaxation
  • the fear ladder technique.
How do I make an appointment for travel vaccinations in Vancouver?

Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations at our travel clinics in Vancouver. Make an appointment online right now.