Sugar Before Shots Reduces Discomfort for Infants

A new review is reporting that fewer tears are shed by babies when they get a sweet solution before injections. A report in HealthDay News says, “A sugar solution appears to help babies tolerate immunizations and get through the pain, researchers have found.” I’ve been doing this for years in my practice, but wanted to be sure that you knew of this new review. In fact, the approach works so well that the new report is recommending that doctors and nurses consider giving a sweet solution to all babies before immunization in children 1 month to 1 year old.

Previous research has shown that a small amount of sucrose or glucose — a few drops to half a teaspoon — in a solution can reduce pain. In the new report, released in Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers from Canada, Australia and Brazil reviewed findings from 14 studies that examined 1,674 injections given to children 1 year or younger.

In 13 of the studies, babies who were given a bit of sugary solution — compared with those given water or nothing — were found to cry less after immunization. Babies given 30 percent glucose in the solution were about half as likely to cry, the study found.

“Health-care professionals responsible for administering immunizations should consider using sucrose or glucose during painful procedures,” study author Denise Harrison, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and her colleagues concluded. “This information is important for health-care professionals working with infants in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as sweet solutions are readily available, have a very short onset of time to analgesia, are inexpensive and are easy to administer.”

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