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Numbing the skin.

Hospitalized children view being stuck with a needle with great fear. They consider it as the most painful thing that happens to them while there. EMLA cream, a mixture of skin anethestics, is used in many children's hospitals to lessen this pain. It has two drawback: to reach maximal effectiveness, it must be applied to the skin at least 60 minutes before the needlestick; and it may cause vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), making blood collection or starting an IV all the harder. A new product, ELA-Max, helps to overcome both of these limitations.

To test the effectiveness of ELA-Max, 30 children in the Children's Hospital of Iowa volunteered to try it. All the children had an intravenous needles inserted into the back of each hand. (The back of the hand is a common place to insert an IV needle.) Half had EMLA on their right hands and ELA-Max on their left. The other half had the creams applied to the opposite hands.

Nurses who didn't know which cream had been applied inserted an intravenous needle into the veins on the backs of the hands of the 30 children. The nurses rated the difficulty of inserting the IV needles and found no differences between the left and right hands. The children rated their pain level and reported no difference between the two creams.

ELA-Max is easier to use than EMLA since it requires only 30 minutes to reach maximal effectiveness. If your child needs a needle stick for an IV or blood collection, speak to the doctor about using one of these creams.

Pediatrics, 10/02.

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Title Annotation:evaluation of ELA-Max skin anesthestic for its effectiveness in preventing pediatric needlestick pain
Author:Sagall, Richard J.
Publication:Pediatrics for Parents
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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