A Wellington nurse is using virtual reality to take some of the fear out of vaccinations for children.
The technology has been proven to reduce pain and anxiety, and there may soon be a version for adults with a fear of needles.
Friday’s doctor’s appointment was the first time four-year old Alexus Harding has been excited about an injection – and it’s all thanks to Sushi the Dragon.
Sushi lives inside a virtual reality world designed to help children with their vaccines.
Wearing a headset, patients see an arrow of light go into their arms as they become a ‚dragon master‘.
In reality, that’s the cue for the nurse to give the injection.Alexus was so immersed in Dragon Valley, she didn’t even flinch.
„Every other time she’s just cried and cried and cried,“ said Alexus’s mum Savarnnah
Pratik Parikh has been using virtual reality at Ropata Medical Centre since importing the gear from America in February.
He has noticed a significant reduction in childrens‘ pain and anxiety.
„Usually their parents have to hold them, restrain them, usually they cry,“ he said.
Virtual Reality is used in medicine around the world for anxiety, chronic pain and even smoking cessation.
The technology distracts patients from their fear.
So if you can take the psychological part away, the physical pain will be much lesser,“ said Parikh.
The company which develops the software for virtual reality and vaccines is now working on a version for teenagers and adults.
Parikh also hopes to develop a version for blood tests and says there’s a huge future for virtual reality in medicine.