Each year, many Americans go to a doctor or a local pharmacy to get at least one shot. The number increases in case of growing children as they are vaccinated for many new and very old illnesses. Rice University researchers are making efforts to make the shots less painful.
A team of freshman engineering students at the school have created a device, which causes a quick chemical reaction to cool a patient's skin before receiving a shot. It has been proved that the device can numb a patient's skin within 60 seconds.
Team member Mike Hua, a mechanical engineering major at Rice, said in a press release that their lab device is 3-D-printed and also contains two sealed chambers consisting of the chemical ammonium nitrate and water.
According to Hua, "A simple twisting motion moves the chambers into alignment to allow the chemicals to flow through the chamber to produce a rapid endothermic reaction. We then numb the skin by contacting the device's metal surface to the patient's skin".
As per researchers, methods, which are presently used to protect young people from the pain of vaccines and other injections are ineffective or consume a lot of time. Hua said that they studied all types of methods for numbing like the one used now.
The methods they tested included both quick and long-term, chemicals, using ice packs. He added that they looked into everything related to the problem before coming up with the idea. According to Hua and his research partners, their device could be employed before ear piercings or tattoos.
Team member Greg Allison, a computer engineering major said that they are making a self-contained device with an extremely cold contact surface, and it has the potential to change the way people get vaccinations.