Apparently, a spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down for all ages, especially if a needle is involved. Having that little bit of sugar can actually help boost the endorphins and putting a little bit of sugar water in a baby’s mouth prior to a vaccination can actually reduce pain. As a nurse practitioner at Sunnybrook, Payne says it’s important to make the experience of getting a needle as pleasant as possible to reduce the risk of developing lifelong anxiety or avoidance. She says distraction is another effective strategy. So, you can do things a little bit differently with different age groups. For children under one year old, parents can try soothing their child or breastfeeding as a distraction, or using skin-to-skin contact for comfort. For older kids, avoid using the word shot, which can be threatening, and try some different distractions. Singing to the children, reading a story, all sorts of things on technology to distract the child which I have seen to be very effective. For all ages, she says deep breathing significantly reduces anxiety around needles. For young children, try having them blow bubbles or on a pinwheel to get them to breath deeply. And for anyone over one year, Payne says topical local anesthetics applied 30 to 60 minutes before injection, can reduce pain and boost confidence. Talk to your health care team about best options. What did it feel like? Just a little prick? With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.

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