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Virtual reality can reduce injection pain, claims new study

Nobody likes being injected, especially not children, but it turns out that distraction and setting can play a big part in how traumatic the experience is. Having kids put on a virtual reality headset and view relaxing scenes can help reduce the amount of pain felt while receiving the injections.

The study was conducted by Sansum Clinics in Santa Barbara and Lompoc, California, and gave just under half of 244 children vaccinated over a period of two months, access to a set of Turbot 3D VR goggles while receiving their seasonal flu injection. Asking the kids how much pain they felt at the injection, there was a notable trend, where those wearing the VR headset reported a 48 per cent drop in pain compared to those who didn’t.

When asking parents about their children’s reaction, 48 per cent noted less pain and 52 per cent less fear. That figure was even higher if you asked staff, who believed that children suffered 75 per cent less pain when wearing the headsets.


Imagine if we hooked this kid up with a Vive, then he’d really be impressed. Source: Sansum Clinic

While some of these numbers don’t represent the most accurate way of measuring pain, they do add up to suggest that there is a very real effect of giving children a relaxing view while something traumatic is happening. This could be important for parents who have children with a distinct fear of needles or doctors offices, as many families delay injections because of those fears.

It could also provide other potential avenues of medication free pain-relief, which could be vital for those with addictive personalities or unique allergic reactions.

The results of this pilot project will be shown at the World Summit of Pediatrics later this year, where we may see new studies pop up to further test this hypothesis.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: It would be great if patients of all ages could receive some pain relief simply through using virtual reality. Those in pain or with limited mobility could end up benefiting the most from VR.

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  • Alex Ray

    the argument you’re making is based off the flawed idea that weathering the flu is actually better for your immune system then stimulating it via vaccine. i think you’re basing it off of bacterial antibiotic immunity, how they’ve grown immune to more and more antibiotics because of the over reliance on them (though in reality its more to do with the massive overuse in the meat production industry plus the misuse by individuals who dont take their full dosage).

    first, you don’t have to keep getting flu vaccines. while its not often mentioned, the flu vaccine you get one year is still potentially viable for years. its not that your acquired immune system looses the ‘memory’ of that antigen and needs to be reminded via vaccine. it has to do with the fact the flu vaccine targets surface proteinatious molecules on the virus that are highly mutable and change over time. on a molecular level antibodies (the acquired immune molecules that a vaccine helps code/generate) attach to these antigen sites kind of like a puzzle piece, but as the antigens mutate the puzzle piece connection becomes less and less secure so those antibodies become less useful.

    now on the difference between immunity from vaccine and immunity from direct exposure, i can see why you’d think the way you do. a vaccine targets only a certain number of sites while direct exposure would allow the immune system to potentially develop immunity from many more antigen sites. but this is a faulty thought for two different reasons.

    first, it doesn’t account for the fact that the virus is intracellular (active mostly within the cell itself) and adaptive immunity isn’t very successful targeting them after infection. antibodies formed by the immune system would predominately consist of the same ones that a vaccine would generate, those stimulated from the antigen sites of the original virus package associated with bonding to the cell itself. you would still see reduced effectiveness of the generated antibodies during successive flu seasons because it would still target the highly mutable proteins.

    second, suggesting that catching the flu is better for your overall health completely disregards the fact that its a potentially deadly disease that has the added detriment of costing you days/weeks of your time and can lead to nasty secondary infections.

  • WhiteSkyMage

    I apreciate your points, they are most likely correct, however I would still not ever inject for flu…nor my future kids, if i have some. You know, I would say that Trump’s point is more correct than ANY Scientist out there who actually does the work on the vaccines or a Doctor who would prescribe them. Hear this:

  • Alex Ray

    i’m sorry but bringing up trump in your argument doesn’t help at all. he’s the same man who said he saw thousands of muslims cheering in new york after 9/11, has mystery sources that still claim obama wasn’t born in america; the idea that i should take anything he says seriously is just laughable. next you’ll tell me he has the cure for cancer, all you have to do is let him piss on you.

  • WhiteSkyMage

    well i guess it’s just a fun joke to toss around… I haven’t voted for him anyway, so i think however he was funny saying all of that.