Trypanophobia | Fear of Needles

October 23, 2021

What is Trypanophobia? 


Trypanophobia is a fear or aversion of needles.  According to the CDC this could affect up to 25% of adults. This may stem from a prior adverse experience to baseline anxiety to other factors. In practice I routinely find that this can manifest in varying degrees.  For some it can be relatively mild where there is a willingness to undergo a procedure that involves a needle as long as certain measures are taken to avoid seeing it or witnessing the injection.  In these cases I find that making the environment comfortable and utilizing distractions through conversation or physical shaking or vibration of the area to be treated or cooling of the skin can help.  The other extreme are those that may avoid healthcare interventions altogether out of an extreme aversion to even the chance of a needle being used during the course of care. 


How does fear of needles affect patients who need to get vaccinations?

According to the CDC, Trypanophobia may be responsible for many cases of vaccine avoidance.  This is clearly a problem for these individuals.  I worry that some patients avoid coming in for concerning moles and freckles out of fear of needles involved in diagnosis.  


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