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Keeping Kids Calm During Diagnostic Imaging

Anxiety is common among children who need to have medical imaging near San Antonio. In some cases, it may be appropriate to give a child a mild sedative so he or she can stay calm and still for an MRI or nuclear medicine test. However, it is certainly preferable to help kids stay calm without the use of medications. If your child has an upcoming appointment at an imaging center, start preparing him or her in advance. diagnostic - imaging

Understand your child’s fears.

Before you can help your child cope, try to figure out what might be causing anxiety. For infants and young children, exam-induced anxiety may be a form of separation anxiety. School-age children may be primarily worried that the test will hurt. Body-conscious teenagers might feel slightly embarrassed, concerned about their privacy, and nervous about pain. If your child is old enough, talk to him or her about these concerns. It might be best to ask indirectly. Instead of asking, “Are you nervous?” try saying something like, “I noticed you didn’t eat much this morning. Sometimes, I get butterflies in my stomach when I get nervous, too.” Kids are sometimes more willing to share their feelings when they aren’t asked direct questions.

Demonstrate how to be a good patient.

To help your young child conquer his or her fear of the unknown, ask the radiologist if you can pretend to have an exam before your child does. Demonstrate how you lie very still on the exam table. You might even lighten the mood for your child by pretending to snore loudly.

Use distraction techniques.

A child’s imagination can be a powerful tool. Collaborate with your child’s radiology technologist to distract your child with pretend play. For instance, as your child prepares for an MRI, you might say that the inside of the scanner is like a rocket ship. Tell your child that he or she must lie very still, just like an astronaut who is getting launched into space. For older children, headphones might serve as enough of a distraction.