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Parents Can Help Reduce Pain And Anxiety From Vaccinations

Parents Can Help Reduce Pain And Anxiety From Vaccinations

Now that the nasal spray FluMist is no longer considered an effective vaccine against influenza, parents will have to resort to the old, unpopular standby for their kids: a shot.

It’s not unusual for a child to have as many as 20 vaccinations by age 5 — all typically administered by injection. The pain of those shots can sometimes be a barrier to getting kids vaccinated, but several studies have shown that the pokes don’t have to be so painful or petrifying, and parents can actually play a big role in soothing the sting.

Back in 2009, Ella Curry, 6, received a spritz of FluMist at Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Md.

“There is a whole body of research on children’s pain management that people aren’t aware of,” Christine Chambers, a clinical psychologist and professor whose lab is based at the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research in Halifax, Nova Scotia, tells Shots. “Parents assume that everything possible is already being done — that if there was something more, it would be offered.”

She says a vicious circle can sometimes arise: When parents are asked why they aren’t using pain management techniques, they say their doctors are not suggesting them. When pediatricians are asked why they’re not discussing those pain control options, they say parents aren’t asking.

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