Health Advice



Terrified of needles? That can affect your health

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., Harvard Health Blog on

Published in Health & Fitness

What can you do to cope with a fear of needles?

There’s not much high-quality research regarding how best to treat trypanophobia. Still, experts suggest a number of options to help people cope with it.

Can therapy help?

Seeing a mental health specialist may be helpful. He or she may recommend:

The bottom line


It’s natural to have an aversion to pain, even when you know it’s coming and even though it’s for a good reason. So, if you’re one of the millions fretting about getting a COVID-19 vaccine or a blood test or any other needle stick, know that you’re not alone, and that there are things you can do to improve the situation. Talk to your doctor about your fear and get help if you need it. Your quality of life, health, and longevity could depend on it.

As for me, I’m going to do what I always do: avert my eyes and stare at that spot on the floor.

(Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., is a senior faculty editor at Harvard Health Publishing.)

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