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Is Your Child Afraid of Getting a Shot?

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Original source: http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?m=40958&l=1&p=&pn=#{“issue_id”:”458646″,”page”:4}

Many children have a fear of needles. It’s not surprising. Most grownups dislike shots, too. But a child’s fear can often be more upsetting than the jab itself. It can make doctor visits especially stressful and take a toll on mom and dad.

To ease your child’s anxiety—and your own—try the following tips:

  • Distract your child with a toy. Bring along a rattle for a baby, a bubble blower for a young child, or a handheld video game for an older child. It might help to bring along a toy your child has never seen before. Telling stories or reading together can be a welcome distraction.
  • Resolve to act calm (even if you feel jittery). Your child takes his cues from you. If you’re calm, he’ll be reassured.
  • Explain in a matter-of-fact way what is about to happen. Tell your child that the shot will hurt only a little and only for a moment. In the case of vaccines, remind your child that the shot will help to keep him from becoming sick.
  • Comfort your child by cuddling, singing or talking softly and rubbing his arm or back.
  • Ask your child’s doctor about applying an anesthetic ointment to the skin before the shot.
  • Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain. If your child cries, remain loving and supportive. Never scold a child for not “being brave.”

Sometimes children experience mild reactions from vaccines, including pain at the injection site, a rash or a fever. These reactions are normal and will soon go away.

Be sure to review any information your doctor gives you about vaccines. Follow these steps to ease mild side effects:

  • Use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site.
  • Give your child a cool sponge bath to reduce any fever.
  • If your doctor approves, give a non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • Offer your child plenty of liquids.
  • Keep an eye on your child, and call your doctor if you see anything that concerns you.

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