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Sugar can help sweeten the pain of shots

baby getting shot.jpg

A new study, appearing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, shows that giving babies a few drops of sugar can lessen the pain of shots. From Booster Shots:

Researchers from Canada, Australia and Brazil looked at 14 studies that compared the analgesic effects of sucrose (aka table sugar), glucose (the less-sweet component of sucrose) and water in infants who received shots. In 13 of the studies, a little something sweet seemed to help the babies, who were all between 1 and 12 months old.

Pooling the results of those studies, the researchers calculated that administration of either sucrose or glucose reduced crying time by 12 seconds. Sweeteners also made babies cry less often.

The findings weren't a big surprise to me: When my daughter had (a lot of) blood-work done as a newborn, her nurses often gave her a few drops of the sweet stuff just before. The nurses swore that it helped, and previous studies have shown that sugar can act as a natural painkiller for infants.

Based on the latest work, the researchers said "healthcare professionals should consider using sucrose or glucose before and during" immunizations in babies up to one year old.

Photo by cdc e-health

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