Vaccination is a routine part of a child’s medical care. It strengthens immunity and also helps to keep serious diseases at bay. However, the procedure for vaccination is quite painful and frightening for children. The fear of pain should not let the parents delay or stop vaccinations in kids and teenagers. Instead, parents should tell them about the importance of immunisation and plan ahead to reduce the pain of vaccination.
Read this guide to learn about three ways to reduce pain during vaccination. The following methods are proven to be safe and effective for kids and teens. You can even combine the different methods to attain better results.
1. Prepare your child for vaccination
- You must start preparing your child mentally for the vaccination.
- You must explain to them how the vaccination would feel. For example, tell them it feels like a pinch for a few seconds.
- Tell them about the benefits of vaccination and why it is important for them.
- Tell them the techniques to lessen the pain, such as sitting still, taking deep breaths and keeping the arm or back relaxed.
- Try to draw your child’s attention away from the needle during the process.
- Don’t forget to carry the vaccination card with you and also pack any supplies that you may need.
2. What can you do to reduce the pain?
4-years or older kids can report their own pain after vaccination. But in infants, you can judge the amount of pain by observing their body movements (calm or thrashing), face (normal or locked in grimace), and sounds (silent or high-pitched cry).
Here are simple ways to help you reduce pain in kids and teens:
- Rub the skin: You may gently rub or stroke your child’s arm right before, during and after the injection. After the vaccination, don’t rub directly on the injection site since it can increase the pain. You must follow a pattern that is comfortable for your child to take his/her attention away from pain.
- Upright position: Have your child sit upright before, during, and after the injection. You can hold your child on your lap. This helps your child to feel secure and to stay still. But don’t hold children too tightly - it can increase distress.
3. Medication to reduce the pain
If the pain is severe, you can apply topical anaesthetic or numbing cream to reduce the pain from needles. Some of the numbing creams that are available over the counter in any pharmacy are EMLA (contains lidocaine-prilocaine), Ametop (contains tetracaine), and Maxilene (contains lidocaine) and Dr.Numb® numbing cream. These numbing creams can reduce the pain where the needle is pierced into your child’s skin. But you have to wait for topical anaesthetics to take effect. It’s better to consult your child’s health care provider before applying any topical anaesthetic to avoid its adverse reaction on the skin.