Ready one, two three! Many can relate to this. Needles can induce worry, discomfort and in some, an overwhelming fear. As a registered nurse in Sunnybrook’s Family Practice Unit, Andrea Goncz has pretty much seen every reaction there is. Usually teenagers and older children usually have the hardest time. Goncz administers more than one thousand needles every year, so knows of some tried and true techniques to help. Tip one? Focus on something else. People of all ages need a little distraction from something that is not enjoyable. For younger children, bring along favorite books. And for older kids, parents can help. Distraction is one of the best techniques, so if mom or dad is standing in front chatting with them while you go ahead and quickly do what you need to do Her next tip? Sugar. The body’s natural response when tasting sugar is endorphin release, so it makes sense that that would actually diminish the sensation of pain that would be received by an immunization. Research has found that dipping soothers into sugar water helps cut down on pain for infants. Goncz also recommends that mothers breastfeed immediately following immunization. For older children, bring a favorite candy. Ya, that’s OK to give your kids treats at those times and it will help with their pain management. Tip three? Emla patches. Available at most pharmacies, these topical pain patches numb the site of injection if applied about one hour before the shot. I find it actually really good for kids who are a little bit older who understand what the needle is and are still very, very scared of it. After immunization, Goncz says both acetaminophen or iboprofen are good options to relieve pain, but there is no need to give it beforehand. The best thing to do is to keep moving the arm, keep moving the limb that did have the injection because it will help dispurse the vaccine. One, two three. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.