2 Ways To Make Immunizations Easier Without Medication
When it's time to take your kids for their vaccines, you may be tempted to reach for the children's acetaminophen to prevent pain or fever from the immunization. But studies show that acetaminophen can actually reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines. Babies given the painkiller were shown to have fewer antibodies after being vaccinated than babies who were not given the vaccine, leading researchers to recommend only giving medication if a fever develops, and not as a preventative measure. So how can you safely prevent or relieve your child's pain from a shot? Take a look at some tips that can help.
During the Shot
One way to minimize the trauma of a shot is to hold your child while they're getting the vaccine, rather than having them lay down on the examining table or even worse, holding them down on the examining table. Even babies too young to be afraid of needles will be afraid of being held down by a stranger. And for toddlers and small children, being held down flat can increase their fear of the needle.
If you're nursing your infant, consider nursing while the shot is being administered. Breastfeeding has an analgesic effect that can minimize pain. Even if you're not nursing, holding your infant against your chest and allowing for skin-to-skin contact during the shot can help keep your baby calm.
For toddlers and small children, try the hug hold. Sit your child on your lap, facing you, with their legs hanging down on both sides and your arms around their waist. This position has several benefits. Your arms prevent their arms from getting in the way of the shot, without having to actually hold their arms. The doctor will have access to the legs to administer the shots, and your child won't see the needle coming. Plus, you can comfort them during and immediately after the shot.
After The Shot
Once the initial shock of the needle is over with, some babies and kids are fine, but others may be fussy or complain of pain. For infants, the 5 S's – swaddling in a blanket, side or stomach positioning, shushing sounds, swinging, and sucking on a bottle or pacifier – are often sufficient to relieve pain and help your baby relax.
For toddlers and small children, try teaching them to take long slow breaths to "blow away the pain". This will help calm them, and focusing on their breathing will distract them from the pain. Once they've calmed down a bit, ask them to sing a song, recite the ABC's, or tell you a story. If your child has a favorite comfort object, like a blanket or stuffed toy, bring it with you and have it ready to offer as soon as the shot is over with. Walking around after a shot keeps the blood flowing and can help relieve muscle pain from an intramuscular injection.
Of course, even if your child isn't fussing or complaining of pain, you should watch for a fever and keep an eye on the injection site for signs of a reaction to the shot. However, for many children, all that's needed to feel better quickly is some comfort and attention during and after the shot. Contact a business, such as Valley Medical Care, for more information.