THE Maternity Hospital in Malaga has started using virtual reality (VR) technology to help kids with extreme needle anxiety.

Millions of kids have medical problems that require frequent injections and IVs, and not only can this cause moments of anxiety for the children concerned, it can be equally hard for the parents and doctors to witness young patients go through the fear and pain of a needle stick.

In an attempt to ease the fear of needles some children suffer from, the Maternity hospital is developing a pilot project to help distract children by a parallel world while they receive certain treatments.

The idea that VR can help children with medical procedures at the Maternity Hospital in Malaga has been praised by many parents whose children need to receive treatment or check-ups on a regular basis.

The first children at the hospital to try out the virtual reality goggles have been so engrossed in the video game, a parallel world in which there are no needles, rather dinosaurs, lions and other animals, the nurses have been able to proceed with the blood extractions with all the children too distracted to notice the needle prick.

So far the pilot project is proving to be a success with children who suffer from a fear of needles.

Meanwhile, studies have also shown that VR can have a therapeutic use and have been used to treat phobias. For example, people with a fear of heights, spiders or other hard to simulate scenarios can be exposed bit by bit to their fears, in a controlled and safe environment, and learn to overcome them.

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