Does your child potentially have a head injury that requires a CT scan? A CT scan can be a scary or stressful experience for adults, so it's understandable why children can sometimes have trouble with it. While your child may be nervous, it's important that they're calm and relaxed for the procedure. The more still a child is, the more accurate the images will be. That will help your doctor provide a more accurate diagnosis and reduce the need for additional scans. You can help by taking a few steps to prepare yourself and the child. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Avoid clothing with snaps, buttons, and zippers. Sweat pants are a great choice on the day of the CT scan. Your child will have to remove any clothing that has buttons or snaps. He or she will likely have to remove their shirt no matter what. However, it's possible that they may be able to keep their pants on if they don't have buttons or snaps. Believe it or not, this can be a big deal. Many kids have anxiety about only being in a hospital gown. If they can keep on some article of clothing that's familiar to them, that may help set their mind at ease.
Talk to them honestly about what will happen. A CT machine can be scary if a kid doesn't know what to expect. Explain what will happen and why the procedure is necessary. Also explain that lots of people get CT scans every day and there's nothing to fear from the procedure. The younger your child is, the closer you should wait until the actual scan before you bring it up. For example, with a toddler, you may want to explain it on the drive to the scan. With a pre-teen, you could probably bring it up well in advance.
See if you can bring earbuds. Many CT scan locations will let you bring headphones and a music device. Your child may be able to listen favorite songs or even an audible book. That could help them relax and keep still during the scan.
Ask about oral contrast. It's possible that your child may need to take contrast, which is a liquid that helps to better identify issues on CT scan images. Contrast is usually administered through an IV. If your child has serious needle anxiety, you may want to see if the contrast can be administered orally. Some contrast can. That will relieve your child of an unneeded stress right before the scan begins.
A clinic, such as Kinston Medical Specialists PA, might be able to help you and your child as well. Talk to the doctor and the CT scan administrator if you believe that your child may react negatively to the scan. They may be able to have a caregiver in the scan room to comfort your child.
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