No one likes getting shots. Some people may like the benefits of a shot or say that getting a shot doesn’t faze them, but there is nothing appealing about a needle being put into your skin. Studies have shown that 20% of the population has some degree of fear about needles and that 50 million Americans say they suffer from a fear of needles, also called trypanophobia.
Most adults are able to overcome their fear, because they understand that a shot is good for them and know that the pain should be temporary. Children, on the other hand, may not think the same way. If you have a child with shot anxiety, they may squirm, cry, and throw tantrums when faced with a shot. Thankfully, there are ways you can help your child cope if they’re terrified of shots.
In this blog, Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, of Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, explains how you can help your child cope with getting shots. Dr. Labovitz and her team offer all the immunizations children need, and they can recommend a vaccination schedule that can help protect your child from many common diseases.
Why are immunizations necessary?
Immunizations help protect children from sickness and disease. They help those who are vaccinated from getting sick, and they also help keep illnesses away from children who haven’t been vaccinated. By following the recommend vaccination schedule, you can help protect your child from getting a number of diseases, such as the following:
- Pneumococcal infection
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
- Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A and B
Immunizations also help protect against the long-term consequences of some diseases, such as shingles from the chickenpox virus.
Helping children cope with shots
If your child has a fear of shots, try doing the following things to help them feel more comfortable about getting them:
Part of shot anxiety comes from the setting. Even though pediatricians and their staff are experts at treating children, all of the sights and sounds at a doctor’s office can be intimidating.
To help fight this, read books about vaccinations to your child or find a toy doctor’s kit for them to play with so they can get familiar with the tools doctors use. If they have a favorite stuffed animal, bring it along for some pretend shots before the actual shot occurs.
Bring a comforting item
Every child has an item that is sure to keep them calm or distracted. Younger children may benefit from their blanket or favorite plush toy. If your child is of reading age, a book is a great distraction. For the more digitally inclined, a smart-phone game or video might also do the trick.
Children tend to handle shots best when they know they’re getting one. To prevent anxiety in the days before an appointment, just tell them the day they’re getting it. And don’t lie about the pain. Tell them that a shot will feel like a pinch, but that the pain will be short-lived and will help protect them from getting sick.
It can be hard to watch your child be scared of shots, especially if you’re not a big fan of shots yourself. But your child will become even more anxious and fearful if they sense that you’re feeling stressed, too. Instead, remain calm and collected. When you keep your cool, your child will be more likely to as well.
To learn more about immunizations, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.