When traveling with kids – especially if you’re abroad – one of the worst things that can happen is to have your children get sick. Not only is being sick no fun, if you’re unfamiliar with the medical resources where you’re staying, it can be hard to pursue appropriate treatment. This may be simply frustrating or it can be dangerous, depending on the issue at hand.Traveling with kids is a lot different than traveling alone or as a couple. Here are 4 health tips for your family vacation.
If you’re planning a trip abroad, it’s important to plan ahead so that you know both what precautions to take and what help is available to you if something does go wrong. These 4 issues are especially important to take account of before you arrive somewhere unfamiliar.
Photo by: Roderick Eime
Family Vacation With Small Kids? 4 Health Precautions You Should Take
Children shouldn’t travel abroad before they’ve completed their standard schedule of vaccines, but those aren’t the only ones that matter in some parts of the world. For example, if you’re planning to travel to sub-Saharan Africa, your whole family should receive the vaccine for yellow fever. Consult with your child’s doctor at least 6 weeks before your trip to find out what vaccines your child should receive.
Control of Chronic Conditions
Do any of your children suffer from a chronic condition like type 1 diabetes or asthma? Before you leave for your trip, it’s important to make sure you have all the medical supplies your child will need, such as antihistamines and bronchodilators for an asthmatic child. You may not be able to refill your medications abroad, but many times you can get an exception from your pharmacy to receive extra supplies if you’re going to be away.
Learn About Food-borne Illnesses
Food-borne illnesses are among the most common problems that travelers face, and they can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting that are both unpleasant and potentially dangerous if left unaddressed. Before you leave on your trip, learn about what foods may play host to hidden dangers. Certain cooking and sanitary practices can also help reduce everyone’s risk of getting sick. This is a good time to follow your picky eater’s lead and skip the food from street carts and food stalls. These items are more likely to make you sick than foods prepared under normal restaurant kitchen conditions.
For family vacation preparation Beware Of Bugs
In addition to food-borne conditions, many people become ill with diseases carried by mosquitos or other local bugs when traveling, but while many people are worried about Zika virus at this time, this shouldn’t be your primary concern. However, your doctor may recommend that your child take anti-malarial drugs, as malaria is a far more dangerous illness. You should also bring plenty of bug spray and anti-itch ointment for treating the inevitable bites, stings, and rashes.
International travel is a great adventure, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. Preparing for unpleasant health events is part of responsible trip planning, and should be one of the first things addressed when you schedule a trip. The better prepared you are, the less likely it is that illnesses will disrupt your travels.