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Sugar Water Eases Pain of Infant Vaccinations
Date:2/4/2008

Study found it lowered pain scores by more than 78%

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- While a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, a new study shows it may also ease the pain of vaccinations.

And experts are hoping that a simple sugar-and-water solution will also ease parents' fears and boost immunization rates for infants.

"We're hoping this will encourage parents to get their children vaccinated," said study author Linda Hatfield, an assistant professor of public health services at the Pennsylvania State University School of Nursing in University Park. "It's very simple, not very expensive, babies leave the clinic just as they came in."

The strategy becomes one in an armamentarium of safer pain relievers for children.

"What's shaking out is a combination of things that can be used safely in pediatricians' offices that are useful to the child," said Dr. Kenneth R. Goldschneider, director of the division of pain management at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. "Sucrose, swaddling, kangaroo care [direct, skin-to-skin contact with a parent], non-nutritive sucking [a pacifier with nothing on it], topical analgesics, use of thinner needles and proper injection site selection [are all] means to keep painful interventions from being overly stressful. None of them are perfect, but they are safe, and work at least reasonably well."

According to Hatfield, this paper is one of the first to study infants who have already left the hospital; most previous studies were done on preterm newborns who, by circumstance, receive more shots. Her study is in the February issue of Pediatrics.

The annual immunization schedule for healthy new arrivals in this world is daunting; infants and toddlers receive as many as 24 injections in the first two years of life. As many as five injections can be given in a single visit.

But many parents are petrified at the prosp
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