protect kids against many types of illnesses, but they are also terrifying to
a child. A new study
is aimed at reducing the pain and fear that young kids face before, during and after a vaccination shot.
both children and their parents during repeated vaccinations throughout
childhood, researchers from York University's OUCH Cohort at the Faculty of
Health have determined that the amount of distress and pain felt by a preschooler
during immunization was strongly related to how their parents helped them cope
before and during an appointment.
The study, led
by graduate student Lauren Campbell, examined 548 children who were expressing
the most pain during preschool vaccinations. Researchers evaluated three different
pain behaviors: facial activity (grimacing), leg activity (crunching of
legs), crying and consolability. In addition, they analyzed what the child and parent said
to one another related to coping with pain.
professor Rebecca Pillai Riddell in the faculty of Health, York Research Chair
in Pain and Mental Health (and senior author of the paper), "When children
were distressed prior to the needle, that made them feel more pain after the
followed the OUCH Cohort children for over a decade, believes it is important to avoid negative or distress-promoting behaviors.
kids that 'it's OK, it's going to be fine' over and over again actually makes
children feel anxious. Parents only say things are 'OK' when things are not
OK. Ensuring you don't criticize a child, such as saying: 'strong girls don't
cry', 'big boys don't do that' is important. Also, don't apologize to a child
by saying things like: 'I'm sorry this is happening to you,'" is also key, says
Pillai Riddell. "These are all distress-promoting behaviors and increase
pain and distress."
published in Pain,
insisted that a parent's behavior during vaccinations are not only critical
to a child's pain coping responses, but can also impact the child’s reactions
in the future—all the way into adulthood. Their
suggestion: Show them you care by being supportive.
To help reduce a
child’s pain-related distress, they recommend that parents engage in
coping-promoting behaviors like encouraging your child to take deep breaths or distracting
them with games, stories or conversations about what they plan to do afterward. It only takes a minute to detour a child from their panicked imagination, but every second counts when they're scared.
have negative reactions with doctors when they are young, may avoid
preventative care in the future,” says Riddell. “If you didn't like a needle
when you were 5, that can stick with you."
Chances are good, very good, that you will catch a cold or get the flu this winter. And that flu might arrive sooner than you expect. The CDC reports that the flu season is off to an early and possibly nasty start. (Get vaccinated, asap!)
Chances are also good that you won’t be sure how to cope with your affliction once it hits. Old wives’ tales abound. (Eating chicken soup and keeping warm?) And some modern cures are fads in themselves. Echinacea, anyone? Here, we debunk some common myths about how to prevent, treat, and cope with cold and flu.