When we think of holidays, we imagine sitting next to the swimming pool or on the beach. Waiting in the emergency room or being stuck in the hotel with ill children is definitely not one of them. That’s why it is so easy to forget to prepare ourselves for any illnesses while travelling.
While we are travelling with children, it is best to be prepared for any unexpected changes of the plan. When your little ones are jet-lagged and their routine is out of whack, those changes actually can escalate the chance of catching something. To keep your motherly instincts serene, I highly advice you to prepare in advance for any health issues.
First thing when you are travelling abroad, being away from your household’s usual eating and sleeping routines means we are more likely to get ill. Dependently where you are travelling it can take time to adjust to food and water in new place. Your children are particularly vulnerable to any type of diarrhoea or infections. There is nothing worst and more worrying than ill child in the foreign country.
I apology in advance for long post, but the topic is very important and it is key to be prepared for anything and know how to react.
Here are few tips we would love to share with you:
Get a Travel Insurance
We always use one of the comparison websites, e.g. ‘Money Super Market’ or ‘Compare The Market’ to get best price for the value. As we had many trips planned this year, we decided to buy one year travel insurance covering only Europe. It was only 32£ in total. Are you still wondering why it is worth to spend those extra money? It obviously includes private health insurance. On top of that it covers trip cancellation, trip delay, lost or delayed baggage, goods being stolen, medical evacuation or even 24/7 assistance. When Lily was 1 year old she got very poorly just before our trip to Mallorca. There were chicken pox warnings at her nursery. If your child is diagnosed with it, you won’t be allowed to board the plane. Luckily enough, doctor confirmed she got 3 day rash. It would cost us around 3000£, if we had to cancel out trip without being covered with travel insurance.
Save All Emergency Numbers in Your Phone
In most countries the number 112 will connect you to the emergency services. However it is worth to keep your numbers of travel insurers close by as well as they have 24 hour help desk. If there is any health issue, they will advise you to which hospital or doctor you should go. Before you travel do your research and check how far is hospital/doctor from your accommodation. It is advisable to carry the phone number of your country’s embassy and your bank card issuer so you can quickly report a card being stolen. Remember that in the case of sudden injury, try to ask for help from any way you can. In the event of a trauma injury, get to any clinic or hospital ASAP. You can always transfer hospitals later once the condition has stabilised. Emergency numbers in different countries
Make a Copy of Your Passports, Driver’s license, Visas
When we travelled in Asia, we made sure we made a scan of all our documents and kept them safely online. It can be Google documents or even just email. Somewhere easy to access in case of emergency or if you do lose your documents.
Take Medicine Kit With You
I might be an over worried mum, but I never leave the house without Nurofen in my bag. I always make sure I take essential kit with us. This will include cough medicine, vaporiser plug, antiseptic wipes, few plasters, after bite cream, diarrhoea medicine, electrolyte replacement powder and thermometer. However the kit would change if we travelled to more rural areas with no access to pharmacy or doctors. I’m attaching you a travel check list that I have created, so you can download it and print for your own use. Download it here.
Carry a Copy of Your Child’s Medical History
If your child or you have any long term disease, it is wise to have a written copy of medical history. Having this available can help health care staff make appropriate decisions about how to treat your child. Let’s face it, it is easy to forget some important information if we are nervous.
Check What Vaccinations are Required
If you are planning to travel abroad, particularly outside of Europe make sure you are aware of any necessary immunisations. Plan in ahead and make an appointment at least 2 months before your trip so that you have adequate time to receive any multiple doses and that you and your children have enough time needed for the immune system to start working. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
Take Precautions to Prevent Insect Bites
This is something that we take most care of. One summer when I was around 4 years old, I got really badly bitten by mosquitos. Now I get an awful reaction to any bites which causes a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. This is very sensitive topic for me as I always try to make sure we use repellants or anti-bites bracelets to keep mosquitos away. We recently discovered that The Gro Company have created an insect shield muslin. I’m not a big fan of repellants as the smell often stinks and is based on alcohol. Remember that bites from certain mosquitos can carry viruses and parasites which can cause severe illnesses. If you are travelling to rural areas where malaria is at high risk, speak to your GP what type of pills or medication can be used by your family to prevent it.
Take Your Own Bottle of Sun Cream
If you have used some brands before and you are aware that your children didn’t have any skin reaction to them, I would advice to stick with them. We usually use SPF50 for our girls and we always make sure that it has at least 4-star UVA protection. On short trips abroad, I always take a travel size packages so we can put them in our hand luggage. I always pack sun hats as well, even if I know there might not be a full sun. They usually take no space and just in case it doesn’t stop us from exploring if the weather changes. During high season, I always pack with us as well after sun cream to keep moist our skin after swimming in the pool or sea water.
Avoid Tap Water, Ice or Fresh Fruit and Veggie
If we are travelling in Europe, most of the time we feel safe drinking tap water. However if you are travelling to Asia, Africa or more rural areas, keep the rule that if you wish to eat fruits and vegetables, you need to boil them, cook them, peel them or you just forget them. Moreover always make sure you and your children drink water and brush your teeth from unopened bottles and don’t put ice in any of your drinks. It might sound silly, but believe me I heard many stories of traveler’s stomach bugs. It can be scary with little ones as they can very quickly get dehydrated, particularly in hot and humid areas.
Carry Hand Sanitiser With You Everywhere
This is again something to keep in mind if you are travelling with little ones. Our girls touch literally everything. I always ask them to not touch something, but they never listen. That includes toilets. Both of them till very recently were thumb suckers, so keeping their hands clean was our priority number 1.
I’m sure that there are might be stuff some of you will see as over protective or not so necessary. Obviously as parents, each of us know what is best for our own kids. Summing it up. Try not to over worry when it is not necessary and enjoy your time together…but at the same time make sure you are prepared and you know what to do in case of the emergency.
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