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A favor for kids with cancer.

A favor for kids with cancer

Children with cancer often undergo more than 300 needle-sticks in the course of treatment, and up to a third must be held down by parents during the procedures, says Paul B. Jacobsen of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. But kids who can distract themselves with a simple paper toy--the unfurling "party blower" ubiquitous at New Year's Eve and birthday celebrations -- are less likely to cry or struggle when a nurse or doctor must draw blood or administer chemotherapy, Jacobsen reports.

He and his colleagues studied 23 cancer patients aged 3 to 9 who had screamed, flinched or struggled during venipuncture procedures in the past. They taught half of these highly reactive children to blow slowly on the party toy; the rest received no behavioral training. Afterwards, the team found that 45 percent of the children who played with blowers during venipuncture needed restraint, compared with 78 percent of those who didn't use the toy. Jacobsen says physicians should devise similar techniques to distract frightened children during other distressing medical procedures.
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Title Annotation:paper blowers used to distract children who must receive shots
Author:Fackelmann, Kathy A.
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 7, 1990
Words:180
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