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reducing pain in childhood vaccinations
Vaccines are very important to help reduce, or in some cases even eliminate diseases that have caused illness, disability or death in earlier generations. Vaccines are a routine part of healthcare and are the best way to protect children against some very serious infections. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends routine immunization. All of your child’s vaccinations should be recorded in their immunization record. Please bring your child’s Personal Immunization Record (yellow booklet) with you to visits, so it can be kept up to date. We strongly encourage childhood vaccinations at the West Carleton Family Health Team. We wish to make these less painful for infants and children by recommending the following evidence based techniques. Our hope is for parents to work with us to achieve this goal.
Recommendations for parents of infants and children:
Mothers can breastfeed their baby during vaccinations. If the baby cannot breastfeed, the administration of a sweet-tasting solution – like a bottle of sugar water OR a soother dipped in white table sugar – may also help to reduce pain.
Parents hold or cuddle their baby/child during vaccinations.
Tactile stimulation (rubbing) at the injection site prior to injection results in less pain in infants, children, and even adults.
Distraction during injections can help to reduce stress in children. Parents may bring a favourite book or toy to the well baby / child check-up. We have a few tricks which will also be available to the child.
Topical anesthetics – like EMLA cream or patch (Lidocaine-prilocaine 5%), Ametop gel (Amethocaine 4%) or Maxilene cream (Liposomal 4%) – are available “over the counter” at your pharmacy (call us if you require a prescription). The vaccination injection site depends on the child’s age and the vaccine being given. If you would like to apply an anesthetic cream to the injection site prior to vaccinations, please ask your provider before leaving the office where the next injection site will likely be. Please remember to apply the anesthetic product if you so choose 20 to 60 minutes prior to vaccinating (30 minutes works well).
Please DO NOT tell children, “It won’t hurt.” This has not shown to be effective in reducing pain.
** DO NOT ** give your infant / child fever reducing medication – like Tylenol, Tempra, or Advil – prior to immunizations and until at least 4 hours after vaccinations. The administration of any of these products may reduce the level of disease preventing antibodies produced in your infant / child’s body after vaccination.
An electronic medical record of all immunizations given at the West Carleton Family Health Team will be maintained in your child’s medical chart. You can access your child’s entire immunization record, at any time, on our Patient Health Portal. Please register each child and parent on the Health Portal.