Quick Study: Immunizations
THE QUESTION Might giving infants a sweet-tasting sugar solution before immunizations make the shots more bearable?
THIS STUDY analyzed data from 14 studies in which children 1 to 12 months old were randomly assigned to be given a sucrose or glucose solution, plain water or nothing shortly before an immunization. Youngsters given a sugary solution cried less often and for a shorter time than did the others. A 30 percent solution, for instance, reduced crying by 20 percent. More-concentrated solutions were more effective than less-concentrated ones, and younger children seemed to benefit more than older ones. No negative effects were reported.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Infants 1 to 12 months old, when it's recommended that children start being vaccinated to protect them against such diseases as mumps, chickenpox, tetanus and hepatitis.
CAVEATS The concentration of the sugar solution varied from study to study, and the analysis did not determine an optimal concentration. It also did not account for possible differences in injection techniques or the type of immunization, which varied.
FIND THIS STUDY May 13 online issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.
-- Linda Searing
The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. Nonetheless, conclusive evidence about a treatment's effectiveness is rarely found in a single study. Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.