Parents who worry about the pain caused by needle sticks might choose to delay or avoid vaccinating their children, which could undermine immunization, the study authors warn.
According to the new study from The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, breastfeeding babies or giving them sugar water during the actual needle stick, using topical anesthetic creams on the injection site and holding babies and older children close can help relieve pain from shots.
34% of mothers who received the pain education program reported using one or more pain relief methods compared to 17% of those in the other group, according to the results published online April 7 in the Journal called Pain.
Women in the pain education group also knew more about pain relief methods and were less satisfied with pain management interventions during their child's vaccinations. The authors report that 12% of parents were blocked from using pain relief methods, usually breastfeeding, because the clinicians giving the vaccines didn't approve.
It's concerning that about one in 10 mothers are put off breastfeeding during immunization because of disapproval and ignorance about infant choking. Efforts need to be made to increase awareness about pain management and ensure that these evidence-based methods to reduce pain during immunization become part of routine care.