- By Micah Dorfner
Tips to ease the pain of childhood immunizations
“Immunizations” is a word most parents or children don’t want to hear. Yet, immunizations play an important role in keeping many spreadable, harmful diseases away from children and infants.
“In the U.S., vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, can happen and will happen,” says Dr. Jill Boulden, a family medicine physician for Mayo Clinic Health System. “If we stopped immunizing, even the minimal cases we have in this country could rapidly turn into tens or hundreds of thousands of cases.”
Immunizations help to decrease the chance of infection by aligning with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely grow immunity to disease.
Although many children fear immunizations, Dr. Boulden offers these suggestions for parents to help make immunization visits easier for everyone:
- Console your child by bringing a favorite toy, book or blanket.
- Distract and comfort your child by singing, cuddling or telling him or her a story.
- Whenever possible, hold your child on your lap, and point out interesting things around the room as a diversion.
- If your child is older, be truthful about what will happen during the visit.
- Encourage other family members to express their support for the child, particularly older siblings.
- Avoid frightening stories and threatening remarks concerning shots.
- Remind children that vaccines help keep them healthy.
“Be especially supportive when your child has received all of their shots,” adds Dr. Boulden. “Offering them a beverage, such as juice or their favorite snack, is a good way to reinforce positive thoughts around vaccinations.”