Needle-phobes rejoice: NeedleCalm launches in Australia

Needle-phobes rejoice: NeedleCalm launches in Australia

An innovative piece of medical technology aimed at reducing physical pain and anxiety associated with injections and needles has been released in Australia this week, just as the government rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Called NeedleCalm, the technology is the result of more than four years of development, and is described by founder and Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Awards 2020 finalist Lauren Barber (pictured below) as "a Band-Aid on steroids".

The medical device takes advantage of a natural process in the body called the 'gate control theory of pain'.

The device is applied to the patient's skin and creates a larger sensation that blocks the sharp pain of a needle as it breaks into the body.

Not only is the device useful for those uncomfortable with the pain associated with vaccines, injections or blood tests, it is helping to make these scenarios more relaxing for those that suffer from trypanophobia - the fear of needles.

The idea for the device came from Barber's years working as a registered nurse, when she saw first-hand the large number of people who suffer from trypanophobia, and how that can clog up the health system by slowing things down.

It also came from personal experience after Barber had to go into surgery because of a needle-stick injury.

"When I was recovering from that I was thinking about the whole situation and patients that I'd treated in emergency and started doing some more research and found that needle phobia was a bigger problem than we realised," Barber told Business News Australia.

"So NeedleCalm gets rid of that initial sensation of the pain."

The product is expected to help the estimated 6.5 million Australians living with trypanophobia when getting the COVID-19 vaccine too as that progressively rolls out over the course of the year.

Manufactured in Australia, and designed for single patient use to be disposed of post-injection, Barber hopes the product will be affordable enough on a large scale to make it a  no-brainer in hospitals and clinics around the country.

"With almost 25 per cent of the population with a fear of needles, we're pleased to be able to provide a solution to overcome this and our team has been working hard behind the scenes to make NeedleCalm available in time for the COVID vaccine rollout. We're hoping that we can support the government's initiatives to reach vaccination targets faster." Barber said.

"People are getting a lot of fear and avoiding healthcare because of trypanophobia.

"I don't know if you've had a recent trip to emergency, but we have to hold people down and they scream. It's just really awful, and it's long overdue for a shakeup."

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