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Fear of injections is a common problem, and not merely among patients

Needle fear: tackling a common problem

Journal of Advanced Nursing (2018) DOI: 10.1111/jan.13818

Fear of needles is common and even stops some healthcare professionals (HCP) from receiving the influenza vaccination, according to a review of 119 papers.

Almost all younger children experience needle fear (generalized fear or anxiety). On average, the prevalence of needle fear declines by 8.7% for every decade increase in age. Between 20% and 50% of adolescents and approximately 20% to 30% of those aged 20-40 years reported needle fear. The prevalence was less than 5% in the oldest adults. Needle fear and needle phobia (a more severe reaction characterised by visual avoidance and a vasovagal response that can cause fainting) were 40% and 70% respectively more common in females than males.

Patients who receive injections as part of their treatment commonly report needle fear. For instance, 15.7% to 84.0% of those receiving cancer chemotherapy and 1.3% to 41.7% of those with diabetes experienced needle fear. Furthermore, 11.7% to 91.0% of those undergoing routine dental procedures reported needle fear, while 1.7% fainted. Needle fear led 27% of hospital employees, 18% of workers at long-term care facilities, 16% of adults and 8% of healthcare workers at hospitals to avoid influenza vaccination.


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