Children and parents, and everyone in the world, dread shots. We have all held our little ones, feeling their heart pounding, as they cry in shock and pain when the nice nurse suddenly surprises them with a painful shot (of course saying “This won’t hurt!”). Its awful enough for routine check-ups, but for some families, coping with injections is a major issue. If you child has an autistic spectrum disorder, sensory regulation difficulties, anxiety, or has been through a traumatic experience, getting shots can be a nightmare.
For the child who has chronic illnesses that require frequent or even daily injections, enduring shots can lead to severe stress. How rotten for a child first diagnosed with diabetes—not only do you have to give up eating your favorite treats (and trick or treating will never be the same), you suddenly have a lifetime of shots and finger sticks to look forward to! And the child with allergies? He could be getting a shot a week for months.
Pain management is an aspect of medical care that is often a lower priority than treating the presenting problem. But its important to know that pain puts us at higher risk for mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. I spent my internship year at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital for children. Though we psychologists would try as hard as we could to use distraction and to teach pain management techniques, the pain and fear of shots did not go away. Lots of children cry their way though injections every day.
So I was thrilled to hear about the work of Dr. Amy Baxter, a pediatric emergency physician and researcher whose work focuses on alleviating pain. Dr. Baxter has invented a little device called ‘Buzzy’ that significantly reduces, or even removes, needle pain. Buzzy works by desensitizing nerves though vibration and cold. It can even be used at the dentist or for blood draws. I’m hoping that advances in pain relief like Buzzy will make life better for everyone out there who dreads needle pain. So check out this website www.buzzy4shots.com
to learn more.