My whole life I’ve been terrified of needles. I still notice my breath getting shallower and my heart rate picking up when I’m due for an annual flu shot or, even worse, bloodwork.

I dread that feeling of a phlebotomist poking around for your vein, missing the mark, and having to re-traumatize you with a second or third stab in the arm — one prick is more than enough, thank you very much. Which is why the VeinViewer is a handy little gift.

How it works

The VeinViewer was created by Memphis-based company Christie Medical Holdings and is designed to show exactly where veins are located, using near-infrared light. The device does this by locating a person’s veins and projecting them onto the arm in real time. No more guesswork.

The technology is especially helpful for patients who are dehydrated, have veins that are harder to spot, or have smaller or collapsed veins.

This is especially helpful for patients who are dehydrated, have veins that are harder to spot, or have smaller or collapsed veins that make venipuncture more difficult.

This special type of near-infrared light is used with the VeinViewer because it can either be reflected by the skin or absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood. Veins up to 0.4 inches deep can be captured, and the device never needs to come into contact with your skin. Moreover, there’s even a “fine detail” setting on the VeinViewer, so that discomfort is further minimized by locating the optimal place to insert the needle.

Accurate visualization

“The VeinViewer helps us visualize veins of patients quicker and more accurately than just feeling for one. The technology is safe to use on newborn babies, even on the small veins on their scalp,” Taryn Hull, RN, Emergency Department Educator at McLaren Greater Lansing in Michigan told Fox47 News. “It can be used on everyone from infants to the elderly.”

The company asserts that its VeinViewer is the only direct projection vascular imaging device clinically proven to improve first stick success, thus improving the overall patient experience. And to that, I say kudos to anything that helps make blood drawing and needle poking a less-intimidating process — especially for those of us with phobias, or people who regularly need their blood drawn.

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