E-Asthma Treatment: Coping With Fear of Injections

E-Asthma Treatment: Coping With Fear of Injections

If you have eosinophilic asthma and are intimidated by the idea of injectable asthma treatments, try these tips.

Eosinophilic asthma, or e-asthma, is a subtype of asthma. Like other forms of asthma, people who have e-asthma experience inflammation in the airways, which can cause symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and chronic cold and sinusitis symptoms. With e-asthma, this inflammation is associated with high levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.

E-asthma symptoms are often severe and may not be controlled by standard asthma treatments. Some patients with e-asthma are prescribed biologic therapies (also called immunomodulators). These medications work by regulating the inflammatory processes in the body that are associated with asthma in order to control inflammation in the airways. Unlike other asthma treatments, which are taken orally or with an inhaler or nebulizer, immunomodulators are administered with an injection—a prospect that can be intimidating or even frightening for some people.

If you feel squeamish about injections, you’re not alone.

"It’s such a common fear and nothing to be ashamed of," says Amber Champion, MD, an endocrinologist who teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Especially since it’s not exactly a natural process to have an injection or have blood taken."

Because fear of needles is such a common problem, healthcare professionals and researchers continually strive for solutions. Over the years, needles have gotten thinner and shorter, and therefore less painful. There are also many strategies that patients can use to cope with fear of needles. These tips that may help you feel more comfortable with your next injection at your healthcare provider’s office.

  • Prepare. Stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced meal to help you maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which helps prevent fainting.
  • Talk. Start a conversation with the person administering your shot. Let them know how you’re feeling. They might even know a trick or two to help you relax.
  • Look away. Keep your head turned the other way when you are about to get an injection.
  • Focus. Fix your gaze on an immoveable object or even a spot in the ceiling, and stay focused on it.
  • Relax. Relaxing your muscles can help make the shot less painful.
  • Visualize. Picture yourself in a peaceful location, such as a beach or meadow, or anyplace where you know you feel peaceful and comfortable.
  • Listen. Soothe yourself with sounds by listening to peaceful classical music or other calming sounds while you are getting an injection.
  • Breathe. Try meditation-style breathing by taking deep breathes through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This can help you relax both mind and body.

Try to remember that, while uncomfortable, getting the shot is important to your health and your asthma control. If your fear of needles induces severe panic or anxiety, you may want to consider working with a therapist to manage your phobia.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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