Tips to ease the pain of childhood immunizations

Immunizations; a word no parent or child wants to hear. Yet immunizations play an important role in keeping many spreadable harmful diseases away from children and infants alike. “In the United States, vaccine-preventable disease such as measles, mumps and whooping cough can happen and will happen,” says Steven Perkins, D.O., family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in Waukon.

“If we stopped immunizing, even the minimal cases we have in this country could rapidly turn into tens or hundreds of thousands of cases,” says Dr. Perkins. 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. Perkins offers these suggestions for parents to help make immunization visits easier for everyone.

· To help console your child, bring a favorite toy, book, or blanket.
· Distract and comfort your child by singing, cuddling, or telling them 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 be happening 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.
· It is important to remind children that vaccines help to keep them healthy.
· Be especially supportive when your child has received all of their shots. Offering them a beverage such as juice or their favorite snack is a good way to reinforce positive thoughts around vaccinations.