Travelling with children can be an enlightening and wonderful experience for the family – creating memories and opening their minds to other cultures and ways of life. But on the flip side it also can be quite daunting, especially if this is your first time travelling with children. The best way to establish a safe travel experience abroad is to take early precautions.
Before Your Travels
When it comes to travelling with children, careful planning and preparation should be considered. It is highly advised to have a travel consultation well in advance of your travels. The travel nurse will make you aware of any travel risks and take into consideration your child’s current wellbeing. Depending on where you are travelling, your child may require certain vaccinations.
These preventative measures will safeguard your child from any diseases or illness.
Your may be advised the following vaccinations:
- Yellow Fever
– Some countries require this as a condition of entry and will ask for proof of vaccination when you arrive into the country.
- Hepatitis A
- Tick-borne Encephalitis
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Hepatitis B
- Meningitis ACWY
All vaccinations require a duration of time following vaccination to reach full protection, usually 10 – 14 days, so factor this time in before your travels. In addition, some vaccinations require a multi-course dose before they are considered effective, such as rabies which requires 3 vaccinations to be considered a complete course. Book a travel consultation early to ensure you have enough time before you travel.
In addition to travel vaccinations it is worth discussing any upcoming childhood vaccinations that could be beneficial to have at the same time so your child is protected against any other common diseases that aren’t necessarily associated with just travel.
If you intend to go to countries with a high malaria risk it is important to discuss antimalarial protection during your travel consultation. Malaria can be fatal and there is a higher risk for children. Antimalarials (malaria tablets) are generally taken for a duration before, during and after your trip and need to be purchased in advance of your travels. There are a number of different types and are suitable for different people so it is important to discuss your options with a travel health expert. The tablets work by ensuring the malaria parasite doesn’t reach unmanageable numbers, keeping you healthy whilst you travel.
Travelling abroad can be exhausting, especially for young children. Jet Lag is known to cause temporary sleep disturbance, which can have an impact on your mental health and other bodily functions. To prepare ahead, The Jet Lag Calculator can tell you how long it will take the body to adjust to your new time zone when you travel – and to adjust back again when you come home.
During Your Travels
Travelling can sometimes result in unexpected situations. For the protection of your child/ren and your family in general, always carry a First Aid Kit. This will reduce your need to seek medical aid for minor accidents or journeys to a chemist, especially if local towns are at a further distance.
When travelling to warmer climates, sun safety is crucial as young children are more vulnerable to sunburn from outdoor activities. To protect the skin apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30, with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection throughout the day. In addition, hot weather can also pose a risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Ensure you and your child are hydrated throughout the day by drinking water from a safe source. This can be bottled water, boiled water, or water that has been filtered.
To further avoid traveller’s diarrhoea:
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating
- Carry an alcohol-based sanitiser
- Keep children from crawling or sitting on the ground
- Avoid swimming in contaminated water
- Don’t swallow any shower or pool water
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if washed in clean water or peeled
- Stick to foods that are well cooked and served hot
- Stick to canned or bottled beverages
- Avoid food that has been sitting on a buffet to avoid contamination
We have launched a new, free online consultation for Travellers’ Diarrhoea – by answering a few simple medical questions about yourself, we can check if antibiotics are recommended for your trip. You can pay online and we’ll dispatch them directly to you if you are suitable.
Alternatively, you can have a more comprehensive travel consultation in-clinic with one of our experienced travel nurses.
For more information on the prevention and treatment of Travellers’ Diarrhoea.
The feeling of discomfort from bug bites can truly be a nightmare whilst travelling. Insect bites such as mosquitoes, ticks, biting fleas and kissing bugs can cause pain, irritation and even spread diseases. However, they can be avoided through protective clothing. Our Ultimate Bug Kit has everything you need from repellents to aftercare. Alternatively, you could purchase individual items and create your own kit.
After Your Travels
Travelling can expose your child to certain diseases. If your child falls unexpectedly ill – contact your doctor or emergency services right away. A high temperature/ fever could mean an infection. For most people, travellers’ diarrhoea usually clears up within a few days. However, if your stomach bug has been ongoing for weeks after returning home, then you will need to do testing to investigate the root cause. Viruses, bacteria or parasites all cause similar symptoms but require an entirely different treatment approach. Our Gastrointestinal (GI) Panel PCR test looks for any microbes that are causing your symptoms and can quickly identify the exact cause of your Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Results can be provided in as little as 1-hour, so that accurate and effective treatment can begin straight away.