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Kids and Shots

Get tips for making your child's next vaccine less traumatic.

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-I'm Pete Ferryman for Parents TV, and today, we're talking about something your kids probably don't even wanna think about, shots, but it doesn't have to be as painful as you or they might think. -One, two, three. -Immunizations don't have to be a traumatic experience if parents prepare their child in advance. I really emphasize the positive. Tell your child the diseases that you're gonna prevent and tell them about the fact that the health care provider and the parents care about the child, and this is why it's happening, and prepare them for what they are going to experience. Tell them that they will experience a little bit of pain, but that it's only short-lasting and it will go away, and after that, they'll be healthy. -Hey, Emily, come on in. Let's get you up on the table. -Yeah. -You're gonna have some shots today. You're gonna be brave. -So is honesty the best policy then? I mean, as far as the pain is concerned? -I think absolutely being honest with your children about the benefits of vaccine and pain, but there are things that we can do to help kids with pain, with discomfort. We can give them Tylenol at the time of shots, and in fact, in our clinic, we always do, and that makes them feel better and gives a more positive experience for the kids. -So should-- if you're a parent, should you give them Tylenol before you go or should you live that up to the nurse practitioner? -I would probably live it up to a healthcare provider at the time of the immunization. You don't know how the timing will turn out in terms of relativity to the office visits and the time of shots. -Okay. What other little tricks do you have? I mean, being honest is one thing, but what other tricks do you have as far as helping your kids get to the doctor's office without screaming their heads off? -Really emphasize that the doctor's office isn't all about shots. We have stickers. We have pencils. We have really nice people to hold your hand and to distract the child during the immunization process. -All right, we're gonna give it right there, okay? -Okay. -It's gonna hurt just a little bit, and then it will be all over. -Immunizations have been in the news a lot lately. Some people think that they shouldn't get their child immunized. Why give them the disease that they're trying to prevent, but that really isn't wise thinking, is it? -No. There are several benefits to vaccines that I think people haven't thought about lately. First of all, of course, prevention of disease, you know. A lot of parents are shocked when I tell them that kids have been hospitalized in by the thousands for things like chickenpox, and there are 100 deaths the year before we implemented the chickenpox vaccine. That's a very recent example, but things like diphtheria or tetanus that are all diseases that we haven't seen much anymore really have high death rates. The other issue was cost. The global economy is what it is because we've been able to immunize people and get them back into the workforce. It used to be that kids would be out of school for months at a time with polio or other infections and not able to build up that education and the workforce, and so our global economy depends on healthy kids and healthy families. Thirdly, what people don't seem to think of as often is the health of others. When you immunize a child, you also, in a family, you immunize the community. And there are people in our community who are more vulnerable, people who take medicines to reduce their immune system, people who have cancer, elderly people, and young children who cannot be immunized. They can't make the choice. So by immunizing the community, we protect them. -Here we go. Done. -I think it's a valid concern to look at everything that we do to children and scrutinize it, but fortunately, all of the data has said, "Yes, the benefits of immunizing children and preventing these very harmful diseases far outweighs any risks associated with vaccine." And every time we've identified the risk, even on minute risk, we've dealt with that, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Immunization Oversight Committee, the Centers for Disease Control, all around to look out for any issues related to vaccines and are doing our very best to control any issues that may develop. Things like autism have come out in the media. Fortunately, we realized now that those initial complaints about the MMR vaccine, which is the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, have been unfounded and all of the research that we've done over the millions of people who've been immunized with this vaccine, we have not seen an increased risk in autism. Thank goodness. I think in general, parents understand that immunizations are protecting their children, and if they have fears, they have concerns, and what I really wanna say is if you have these fears and concerns, come in, ask questions, talk to your health care provider, look at reliable sources on the internet. I would recommend places like the Centers for Disease Control, which has no angle one way or the other and is a government agency that provides significant amounts of data in terms of immunizations and all of the reviews of adverse events. -So what if something does go wrong with the vaccine? How do you know when should go back to the doctor's office. -Well, we see two stages of adverse reactions to vaccine. There's the first immediate stage. There's some tenderness at the site of injection, redness. There may be a low-grade fever. That's actually a good thing. That's your immune system responding to the vaccine and strengthening. Then there are later effects, and each individual vaccine has its own set of potential later effects. For example, the chickenpox vaccine is a live vaccine. So some people would get little red bumps or a mild form of chickenpox after the vaccination. So there are different forms of reaction for each immunization, and the parent should receive and review the information sheet for each immunization that their child receives, and look for those events over the next weeks to a month. -So there you have it. Getting vaccinations doesn't have to be a traumatic experience. In fact, it's the right thing to do for you, your child, and your community. Perhaps the most important thing we learn today is that if you have questions or concerns, just ask your health care provider. I'm Pete Ferryman for Parents TV. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.