Doctor Starts “Ouchless Jab Challenge” to Ease Pain

There is nothing as hard as seeing your child in pain, even when you know it is for their own good. According to recent research, one of the biggest sources of pain for young children in the health care system is shots. Whether it’s part of their routine vaccinations or a seasonal RSV or flu shot, the pain and fear caused by needles may be unavoidable. But one doctor is on a mission to change that.

Pediatric pain and sedation medicine specialist Dr. Stefan J. Friedrichsdorf is the medical director at the Stad Center for Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine, where he and every member of his team get up every morning because they “want to eliminate pain and suffering.” Friedrichsdorf’s latest campaign in his quest for a disease-free world—the “Ouchless Jab Challenge.”

The “Ouchless Jab Challenge,” which is gaining popularity on social media, focuses on four simple steps that clinicians and parents can follow to make shots more pleasant, if not painful.

These four methods include:

  1. Apply numbing cream. An over-the-counter lidocaine, 30 minutes before a shot. “You put it on your skin and you feel less or nothing,” Friedrichsdorf says in a video describing the four techniques.
  2. Breastfeed babies or give them a pacifier dipped in sugar water. This provides comfort for them before or during the shot. “Babies are being swallowed and now, almost all of them are sleeping through the intervention,” he added.
  3. Use distractions to divert attention. Teddy bears, pinwheels, bubbles or in the case of Friedrichsdorf, magic provide an alternative focus and enjoyment.
  4. No more putting kids on an exam table. Parents should hold children on their laps instead.

“Needle sticks are the number one source of anxiety for children,” Friedrichsdorf told a pediatric meeting this past winter. Note that due to widespread fears, “many children and many parents decide not to continue treatment,” whether it’s for a serious illness or to prevent a disease.

Check out 13 other ideas for making shots less stressful for you and baby.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult a qualified physician or health professional regarding your specific circumstances.

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