Vaccinations hurt!

Okay, so just a little. That’s why babies cry when jabbed. So why don’t they apply a topical pain killer, especially for babies and children, before the shot?


I would imagine that much of the pain of a needle stick wouldn’t be prevented by a topical anesthetic. A needle pierces deep layers of skin, and sometimes muscle, when a vaccination is delivered. The nerve endings deep inside don’t’ stand much chance of being affected by anything topical.

Very funny. I was thinking maybe fear of allergic reaction.
The first time I tried to reply I got an error message.
I see aerodave has replied.

Just babies? I’ve been on this world for over 1/2 a century and still cannot stand shots. I have to look away from my arm as it is being prepped and the needle jabbed in it. Otherwise, I get faint.

When a doctor asks me if I am allergic to anything, I tell them I’m allergic to pain.

In My Experience, which is maybe not trivial, the jab for an anesthetic hurts no less and no more that the jab for an inoculation. Topicals don’t fix the jab hurt; they just ameliorate it a little.

It doesn’t hurt that much and we aren’t a nation of pussies?

Really, the small chance of complications from the anesthetic probably easily outweighs the benefits of avoiding literally a second or two of mild pain. As for children- well, they have to learn to be brave at some point, right? Life is full of pain, and part of growing up is learning how to manage the occasional bit of mild physical discomfort.

Oh please you big babies. Needles are smaller than 30 gauge these days. You can feel that something has happened, but it’s hardly pain.

The first (and only) time I got a shot as an adult, I was surprised to learn that what hurts is not the piercing, but the subsequent injecting of liquid. At least that was true for my tetanus shot, and I’ve been assuming it was true for all those shots I got as a kid, but I didn’t realize it. Having blood drawn, which obviously involves piercing but not injecting, hardly hurts at all.

So the baby cries at the instant of the jab because…?
The scary look on mom’s face?
C’mon, I’m talking mostly babies here, meanies.
What would the Baby Jesus say.

Some shots hurt worse than others. I had a B-12 shot that was amazingly painful, and the nurse said that it was normal to feel that much pain.

The site of the injection will also be part of determining how much or how little a shot hurts, as well as the skill (or lack thereof) of the person giving the shot.

Still. I’ve had maybe 25 shots over the last 3 years of living overseas, so I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur.

Some do hurt more than others- I believe Tetanus in particular sucks. And it is the “injecting the liquid” part that hurts more than piercing. The skill of the injector has something to do with it, but not nearly as much as your own mental state. When I take a breath, think “this is just a jab” and relax my arms, it will always hurt a lot less than if I am tense and thinking “this is gonna hurt.”

Anyway, the point is, not a single one of those shots hurt more than the everyday experiences of. say, biting my tongue or stubbing my toe. Life hurts. As a culture, don’t we still value bravery and toughness? I mean, it sounds ridiculous to me that we should even be talking about “bravery” and "toughness’ in regards to something so insignificant as a vaccination! What the heck do people do when they are really in pain?

I used to have to be injected with 3 shots a day in my butt. One of the three had a huge needle. What worked for me painwise was to 1) make sure the muscle is completely relaxed or it will hurt MUCH more and 2) watch TV during the injection, preferably something loud with a lot of action. It really worked, and I am the biggest baby of all when it comes to shots and pain. In fact, now that I watch television in the dentist’s office, I hardly notice anything going on in there anymore, either.

Actually, there is a topical product that relieves pain enough to facilitate things like IV catheter placement in pediatrics. It is EMLA Cream. I have seen it used in tiny babies who then just sit there without crying for blood draws, etc.

However (there is always a however), it needs to be applied 15 or so minutes prior to the painful stimulus, and it has a number of contraindications. And then there is expense.

I read the topic as “Vacations hurt!” and thought to myself what an unfortunate problem that must be.

The baby Jesus was circumcised when he was eight days old. He’d tell us to suck it up.

I remember for a while the Red Cross was trying something out to lessen pain during their blood lettings. They had to apply some cream and then you had to sit there for like 10-15 minutes with some electrode thingy over the area. I opted just to get out of there 10-15 minutes sooner.

Dude, I’ve had that many in the last 2 weeks! (Type 1 diabetic checking in.)

I’ve been self-administering insulin at minimum twice a day for 30 years… what’s that, around 20k shots, give or take? I have absolutely no qualms doing that, but I still get queasy when the nurses come at me with pointy things. For that matter, I can’t even watch my dog get shots at the vet, or stand to see people getting their flu vaccine on the nightly news.

For me I think it’s a control issue. I’ve done it so many times that I know the “right way” to do it. If the nurse were to instead just hand me a bunch of syringes and say, “Here, inject all of these and the doctor will be right with you” I’d be fine.

After a pulmonary embolism, I spent two weeks injecting Lovenox twice a day. Sticking the needle in, I barely felt. Injecting the heparin, on the other hand, burned like a motherfucker. So, as others have observed, it’s not always the needle itself that’s the painful part.

For immunizations in general, the time, expense and relative ineffectiveness of a topical anesthetic would tend to outweigh benefits. Also, some level of pain at the injection site in the hours or even days after the shot is a relatively common and mild side effect of immunization. The topical anesthetic will not help with that.

By contrast, putting an IV in a baby is more involved and likely to be more painful.

That may be part of it. If an infant senses the parent is tense/apprehensive it could react more than in a calm atmosphere.