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10 Tips For Easing The Fear of Needles & Shots

Posted on August 26 2014

The start of the new school year means that parents will be taking their children to get their vaccinations. Many kids, and adults, have a fear of needles and dread the day that they have to go and get a shot. Thankfully, there are a few techniques that parents can use to help making getting shots a little less scary for their kids. Remember that getting your children vaccinated helps protect their health and keeps them from getting sick. Tip #1 – Remember that like Rita John, director of the pediatric primary care nurse practitioner program at Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City, said in an August 13th news release from ColumbiaUniversity, children are able to sense “when parents are anxious, [and] they pass that fear on to their kids.” If you try to remain calm and positive it will help your child to stay calmer. Tip #2 – Like adults, many kids fear the unknown. Find an age-appropriate way to explain to your child that vaccines are good for them and help keep them from getting really sick. Tip #3 – Make sure your child understands that getting shots isn’t a type of punishment. Tip #4 – Don’t lie to your child about shots. Don’t tell them that it isn’t going to hurt when you know that it will. Like adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Smith of UNC Hospitals said in a Back-to-School report on the Today Show, “let them know that it will hurt, only for a short period of time, and that they will be okay afterward.” Tip #5 – With younger children, giving them a toy medical kit is a great way to help familiarize them with shots and reduce their anxiety. Let them give you and/or their dolls pretend shots (and remember to have a positive reaction when they give you the pretend shot). Tip #6 – Bring something to the appointment with you to help distract your child while they are given the shot. Blowing bubbles, playing a game, listening to music, and even texting for teens helps take their mind off the shot and ease their anxiety. Tip #7 – Call ahead and ask if your doctor or pediatrician uses the Bionix ShotBlocker to help reduce needle pain and anxiety. Great for people of all ages, the ShotBlocker makes multiple contact points to the skin at the injection site to help detract the person from the “painful” poke associated with the injection. If your doctor doesn’t currently use the ShotBlocker ask if they would be willing to use it if you brought one. They are very affordable. Tip #8 – Ask your doctor if they could use a topical numbing agent or pain relieving spray to help reduce the pain from the needle poke and help make getting future vaccinations less stressful for your child. Tip #9 – Soothe your child after they get the shot. Hug them, let them sit on your lap, and do whatever makes them feel comforted. Relieve soreness at the injection site by gently rubbing it for a few minutes and help reduce any swelling by applying a cold pack to the injection site for about 10 minutes. Ask the doctor if it is ok to give them children’s Motrin if they complain of pain. Tip #10 – Make sure you reward and/or praise them after they get their vaccination. Point out how brave they were and let them know how proud you are of them for being so brave. Like John said in the news release, “you want the final part of the experience to make kids feel like even if they suffered some momentary pain, it was worth it.”   Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_148008.html http://www.today.com/id/48289258/ns/today-back_to_school/t/shots-school-how-calm-childs-fears/#.U_yFO_ldXvU http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/health/kids-overcome-fear-needle-shots/#page=7

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