8 Coping Strategies for Needle Phobia

Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW, speaks publicly and writes about her experience on her award-winning blog, TheSilverPen.com. She is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, BreastCancer.org, Susan G. Komen, and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Army of Women Blog. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her family.

BloodDonation_400If you hate needles but need blood drawn, here’s how to make the task less cringe-worthy. From The Silver Lining: A Supportive & Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer.

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The Silver Lining

by Hollye Jacobs

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● Tell the phlebotomist (the person who draws your blood) or your nurse that you have needle phobia.

● Look away or close your eyes. If you’re frightened, why torture yourself by watching?

● Take deep breaths, especially when the needle punctures your skin.

● Allow a maximum of two sticks per person. Hold your ground. Tell the person, “I have a two-stick-maximum policy. I’d like another phlebotomist, please.”

● Request a butterfly needle. It is the smallest needle available and just as effective.

● For especially difficult veins, you can request a topical numbing agent (though not all labs have them).

● Busy your mind by counting backward from some unreasonable number that will actually make you think as you count down (e.g., 1,359,112).

● Don’t chat with the phlebotomist. It is important for the person taking aim at your veins to be fully focused on the task at hand.

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