Roughly a quarter of all adults in the United States suffer from trypanophobia–the fear of needles. It’s an irrational fear; needles are one of the most versatile tools in the medical industry–there’s no need to be afraid!
One reason people may fear medical needles is a lack of understanding. There are many kinds of needles in use today. Knowing more about them can help people feel more comfortable.
You can distinguish needles by their gauge and length. They’re also attached to syringes, of which there are several different kinds.
Keep reading to learn more about the kinds of needles and syringes available today.
Needles and Syringes
When talking about needles, we need to distinguish them from syringes. Many people assume that the terms are interchangeable, but they refer to two separate elements.
The syringe is the part of the device that holds whatever medication the needle will inject. There are many kinds of syringes, varying by the volume of medicine they hold.
Syringes feature a barrel, which holds the medication; two flanges, which make the device easier for a medical practitioner to hold; and a plunger, which pushes the medicine through the needle when depressed.
Most importantly, syringes feature a tip to attach a needle to. Some syringes come with needles attached, but most feature a Luer lock tip. Luer lock tips make it easy to attach and detach needles as needed.
The base of a needle, which attaches to the syringe tip, is called the hub; the long, thin piece of metal emerging from the hub is the shaft. The shaft ends with a lumen, which allows the needle to puncture the skin.
Needle gauge is a key consideration for members of the healthcare industry. A needle’s gauge measures its diameter; the smaller the gauge, the wider the needle’s diameter.
Low-gauge needles are thicker and more durable than high-gauge needles. As a result, they’re the best needles for deeper injections. Low-gauge needles are also better when using viscous medications.
High-gauge needles are smaller, which makes them less painful. A patient will barely feel a 30g needle.
Aside from the gauge, the most important aspect of a needle is its length. Needle length varies depending on what kind of injection you need: intradermal, subcutaneous, or intramuscular.
Intradermal injections go just beneath your skin, so they need the shortest needles. Subcutaneous injections go a little bit deeper; they require a needle at least half an inch long.
Half-inch needles are among the best medical supplies a doctor can have, as they can be used for both intradermal and subcutaneous injections.
Intramuscular injections are the deepest. Many intramuscular needles are an inch long or longer.
Understanding Medical Needles
Medical needles are important tools for anyone working in the medical industry. Needles allow doctors to draw blood, give life-saving vaccines, and more–as long as they have the right needle for the job, of course!
Needles are only one of countless examples of medical technology that has improved our lives. For more information about the latest tech, visit our technology blog–you’ll find product reviews, buying guides, and more!