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Simple ‘Cough Trick’ Helps Children Cope With Shots

Last Updated: January 11, 2010.

A simple intervention in which children cough at the moment of needle puncture during routine vaccinations may reduce the perception of pain by some children, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Pediatrics.

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A simple intervention in which children cough at the moment of needle puncture during routine vaccinations may reduce the perception of pain by some children, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Pediatrics.

Dustin P. Wallace, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a study of 68 children aged 4 to 5 or 11 to 13 years who received routine immunizations. The children were assigned randomly to perform the cough trick during either their first or second immunization. The cough trick involved a "warm-up" cough, followed by a second cough, during which time the needle puncture was conducted. The patients themselves reported perceived pain, and the observations of parents and nurses were also noted.

For Hispanic white and non-Hispanic white children, the procedure was found to be effective, but the same result was not found among non-Hispanic black participants, the researchers discovered. More research is needed to explain the effect of race on the intervention, the investigators note.

"Pain assessment can be confounded when nurses have different cultural backgrounds than their patients, which results in a discrepancy between the expression of pain by patients and the interpretation of pain by nurses," the authors write. "This might be of particular importance in the present study, because participating nurses and the research assistant were primarily non-Hispanic or Hispanic white but almost one half of the participants were black."

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