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The doctor explains about vaccinations | Doctor, why do syringes actually hurt?

Getting an injection is never nice. Not for adults, and certainly not for children.

Little dramas regularly take place in doctors' offices when vaccinations are due. "It doesn't have to be," says pediatrician and emergency doctor Dr. Sibylle Mottl-Link (50). In order to make the procedure understandable for the little ones, the doctor has published a picture book *.

In the BILD interview, Dr. Mottl-Link, how you can relieve children of the fear of the vaccination, what parents should pay attention to and how their jello trick works.

Miss Dr. Mottl-Link, how many syringes have you used in your life?

"Thousands ... I can't say that exactly."

Did everyone cry?

“No, most of them not at all or only for a short time. Many children are incredibly brave and brave - sometimes even cooler than the adults they bring with them. "

What do you tell the children why vaccination is so important?

“My wording is something like:“ You know, vaccinations protect against dangerous diseases. And imagine! With the little bit of spades we not only protect you from getting sick, but also your dear grandma, if her physical defenses should be too weak, or your nice teacher in kindergarten ... Tell me, what's the name of your teacher? What kind of hair color is she? Does she have glasses like me? And what's the name of your best friend anyway? ... "And already we are in the middle of a personal conversation and the spades becomes a minor matter."

That said, distraction is half the battle?

"Yes exactly. You have to focus on something else. Incidentally, it also works if the child has fallen. Change the subject quickly, then children usually calm down very quickly. "

Why do syringes, i.e. pricking, actually hurt?

“Pain protects us much like an alarm system. It reports when something is going wrong somewhere in the body. Then he tries to get us to take it easy. Or he warns us if something penetrates our skin without permission. So when something sharp hurts our outer protective layer, the body tries to get to safety by reflexively pulling away or fleeing - which is actually a very healthy and vital reaction. After all, the body cannot know that the spades are supposed to help it. "

Is it true that it is actually much worse for children to be held? So that it is not the spades that is bad, but the fixation?

“Yes, but the worst thing about holding on, in my opinion, is the adult discomfort. Children - already babies, by the way - are masters at perceiving atmospheres around them, even before they are captured.

So my simple trick is to ask the parents of small children directly: "Is it okay for you to hold your child yourself or should my doctor's assistant do it?" This way, the adults realize that they don't have to prove anything to themselves in my presence in case of doubt, can also give in The parents breathe a sigh of relief and my little patients perceive this very closely and relax a little too. "

How can you take the fear of a vaccination away from children in advance?

“The best way to combat fear is to explain openly and honestly what is going to happen. Preferably every single step! That's exactly why I made my new picture book. It is perfect for this preparatory conversation and leaves nothing out. This builds trust and creates reassuring predictability. It gives children security when they know what will happen next - also in everyday life. "

And what about toddlers, two-year-olds for example, who don't understand it yet?

“With young children, the most important thing is to be left as a caregiver as much as possible. The easiest way to do this is to say the following to yourself:

  1. Vaccinations are good and important!
  2. I trust my doctor because she knows what she is doing.
  3. I am a damn good mother or a good father, especially when I have my child poked - because vaccination is part of responsible worry!

This positive attitude will be carried over to your toddler - not only when vaccinating, but also otherwise. Be proud of what you as parents do every day! They have - even if they may not always notice it - the full respect of all those who have raised children themselves. "

Do you have a secret trick to keep vaccinating children from getting so cramped?

“Yes, the jelly exercise! This trick, which makes the arm very loose and wobbly, is described in detail in my picture book. Long before a spade, young and old can try out how they can loosen up their arms so that it hurts less later. Practice also makes the vaccination master! "

What should parents do when their child is vaccinated?

“The inner attitude counts, because it is this that even the youngest can sense very precisely, regardless of the words they hear. As parents, make it clear to yourself how important vaccinations are and that the little Piks is nothing compared to the great evil it protects against! That makes everything a lot easier. "

Which sentences don't work at all?

“Even young children can tell when you are lying to them. The worst sentence I heard in this context was: “I won't let the doctor hurt you!” Even though the child had already seen the syringe. The child could of course no longer be reassured. Children are not stupid, and it takes terrible revenge to try to fool them! In this case, of course, my little patient no longer believed anyone. His trust was gone. "

Does it help to offer children a reward if they are cooperative?

"Absolutely! My own children, for example, were big fans of gummy bears that were only available from their pediatrician. A special highlight in the pediatric practice, in which I worked as a substitute doctor, was a treasure chest with colorful stickers, small toys and tiny picture books from which the older children could choose. "

How important are plasters?

“I think plasters are great! Not only that the pretty, colorful motifs on it draw attention to pleasant emotions and let fear or pain take a back seat.

A plaster hides the sore spot, moving the actual injury into distant memory and marking the child as a brave little hero.

In addition, a plaster is a wonderful symbol of “caring for one another”, based on the motto: “By offering you a plaster, I turn to you. I take a very close look at what you've been through - be it a small fall, a major injury, or a vaccination - and I admire you for it. Besides, you are not alone, you have someone who takes good care of you. "Wonderful!"

How do you calm down crying children quickly after a vaccination?

“The most important thing is to be relieved as a companion, to be happy and happy that it is finally over. Babies immediately feel that the tension has been released, and with a little sucking and comforting melody, the world is all right again.

Small children, kindergarten and school children can be brought to nicer thoughts with colorful plasters, gummy bears and personal conversations, for example about their last birthday or the neighbour's new pet.

So the simple trick is a skillful distraction to positive feelings. As a side effect, this means that the next vaccination is no longer a drama, but something that is simply part and parcel of life. "

What do I do with the child if they are afraid of the doctor?

“Under no circumstances should you sit on the examination couch by yourself immediately after entering the consulting room! As a doctor, I ask the parents to sit down next to me on the chair next to my desk with their child on their lap so that we can talk better. The child can look at me from a safe embrace while I ask the parents my questions and write down their answers. I am happy to take the time for this initial, calm contact, because it is worthwhile for everyone and creates trust.

I then basically examine the little ones on their parents' arms and explain everything I do. Most of the time, I am given a small smile while listening to the stethoscope.

Looking into the ears and mouth or vaccinating is unfortunately always perceived as uncomfortable, no matter how I do it. That's why I prefer to save this procedure for last and carry out it at lightning speed with just a few practiced hand movements, so that it is over as quickly as possible. The little ones thank me because they never hold grudges and forgive me directly. "

Is there an age when children are particularly reluctant to see a doctor?

“Yes, between 8 months and 2 years. As soon as children can understand the purpose of the examinations and treatment, they can be amazingly brave. "

* Dr. med Sibylle Mottl-Link: Don't be afraid of the little spade. Today I'm going to be vaccinated, Loewe reading books, 32 pages, 10 euros.