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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported December 17, 2012

Sugar Before Shots Helps Babies’ Pain


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Babies are given a lot of immunizations; some could even have as many as 15 shots by the time they are a year and a half old. For parents hoping to ease their babies’ pain during these injections, a recent review of several different studies says a little bit of sugar beforehand could help to comfort babies. 
By analyzing data from 14 various studies involving 1,551 infants between the ages of one month to one year, researchers concluded that giving infants drops of a sugar solution two minutes before the injections led to the babies’ crying for a shorter amount of time. 
“Giving babies something sweet to taste before injections may stop them from crying for as long,” lead researcher Manal Kassab from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Jordan University of Science and Technology was quoted as saying. 
It is not clear whether the sweetened drops actually reduce the pain infants feel from immunizations or if the sugar solution merely induces feelings of comfort after coming into contact with specific taste receptors. 
However, the systematic review does contain some flaws. 
The individual studies used assorted strengths of the sugar solution as well as different pain measures. Other than discrepancies between study methods, the studies also had varying outcomes. These issues point out the need for further research on the topic.
“We need to see more data from well-conducted trials in children under one year, especially in relation to optimal concentration, volume and method of administration of sugar solutions,” Kassab was quoted as saying. 
However, a little bit of sugar won’t harm anyone so parents getting ready to take their babies to the doctors should remember Mary Poppins’ advice: a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Source: The Cochrane Library, December 2012
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