Rethinking Healthcare

Flinch at the sight of needles? New technology may help you overcome your fear

Flinch at the sight of needles? New technology may help you overcome your fear

Posting in Science

Thanks to the latest technology, the intradermal flu vaccine may offer squeamish patients an alternative to the traditional flu vaccine.

You grit your teeth. As you sit in your chair, your mind begins to wander.

"I hate the doctor!" "Why must I go through this every single time I visit the office? "Who invented this torture device?  "OMG is that a needle?!"

Now, thanks to the latest technology, your worries may be over. This past May, the FDA approved the intradermal flu vaccine for the 2011-2012 flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the intradermal flu vaccine works by being injected straight into the skin. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes on its website, traditional flu vaccines use needles that are injected into the muscle, so opting for the intradermal flu vaccine may save you from some of the more nasty side effects of the traditional flu vaccine.

However, there's still the possibility of side effects such as redness, swelling, toughness, pain, and itching. But hey, that's nothing compared to the thought of a painless experience at the doctor's office, right? And in all honesty, how many nights have you woken up in a cold sweat, dreading the impending flu shot? Probably more than you'd like to admit.

Before you rush out the doctor's office, though, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • The intradermal flu vaccine uses a smaller needle than the regular flu vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the needle is 90% smaller than traditional needles. Most often, flu vaccine needle sizes range from 1 inch to 1.5 inches. At 0.06 inches, the intradermal flu vaccine needle falls under the "Don't be afraid" category. Translation: If you flinch at the sight of a needle, take advantage of the intradermal  flu vaccine. Your squeamish side will thank you.
  • The FDA has approved the intradermal flu vaccine for adults aged 18-64. Children are not yet approved for the intradermal flu vaccine.
  • The intradermal flu vaccine is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur. According to Sanofi Pasteur, the intradermal flu vaccine will be distributed for the fall season. It will be available in clinics and doctor offices throughout the country.

via Popular Science

Image: via Sanofi Pasteur press release

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Stacy Lipson

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer Stacy Lipson has written for Natural Health, MSNBC's Body Odd, HealthDay.com, Sprig.com, BNET.com, MarieClaire.com, MyDaily.com and Lemondrop.com. He holds a degree from Temple University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure