Sunday, July 21, 2013

How to be prepared before, during, and after the shots

Pediatricians are often asked how to treat vaccine injection anxiety, how to recognize abnormal post-vaccine reactions, and how to treat a reaction if it occurs.

Here are 2 links to parent-oriented handouts on this topic:

In summary:
1. Don't pre-medicate with a pain/fever reducer unless there has been a history of prior adverse reaction.  At least one recent study suggests that pre-medicating may alter the immune response of the vaccine.  It is not clear if this is clinically significant. 
2.  Stay calm and help your child deal with the immediate discomfort of the injection with techniques such as swaddling and nursing for infants and distraction techniques for older children.
3. If a reaction such as painful redness and swelling does occur, use pain/fever reducers and cool compresses.
4. For specific information about any particular vaccine and its typical post-vaccine reaction symptoms,  review that vaccine's Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) handout.  At our office, we give you a VIS packet with all of the VIS's at your first vaccine visit (usually 2 months old).  Individual VIS's are available at our office and at