Allergy Shots For Kids!
Spring is in full swing, and our clinics are blooming with new little patients! Allergy patients in the San Francisco Bay Area can certainly attest to feeling more symptomatic after so much rain as California has officially been recognized as drought-free. While this is wonderful news for our water supply, it is not such great news for our symptomatic little ones that are affected by the sudden release of common environmental triggers. So what can we do about it?
While there are many options for symptom control via medication, another option to consider would be subcutaneous immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots. And yes, they are extremely effective in helping children get their seasonal symptoms under control and begin to tolerate daily environmental triggers that impact their quality of life.
But kids and needles you ask? Really? Yes! It definitely can be done! The key is starting them at the correct age where they can sit reasonably still and remain reasonably cooperative (I would personally recommend 4-6 years old depending on the child’s personality). You can make the experience motivating and fun. Here are some helpful tips to try if you are considering allergy shots for your child.
- Stock up on artistic multicolored ice packs, and have your child pick them out before their appointment- have them ready to go post injection! (Try “Boo Boo Buddy” ice packs)
- Stock up on colorful band-aids- kids adore stickers of any kind, and the more decorated they are, the bigger the symbol of their bravery, especially around peers!
- Allow the CHILD be in control of the timing of the shot. When they are in control they will relax their muscles because they are focusing on counting. I like to encourage my children to pick the numbers for their countdown for the shot to be administered. This helps them feel more in control and empowered. For example, my kids would pick a countdown like the following “-3, -2, -1, 0 put the needle in at 1, pull it out at 3“ Kids relax more when they are in control, and relaxed arms lead to less painful shots.
- Distractions- keep them laughing or engaged in conversation
- Be liberal with rewards: stickers, snacks, or special outings or experiences for completing their shot appointment bravely all work well!
- Getting them through those first few appointments calmly sets precedent for future positive experiences! Shots don’t actually hurt that much, especially in the beginning. Discomfort usually appears at higher concentrations, and by that point they are expert shot patients