The Importance Of Pre-travel Health Planning
Bringing your child on a holiday can be a truly memorable and exciting experience for you and your family. With that said, it can also be daunting, with the possibility of your little one falling ill during the trip. Here are some tips to give you a peace of mind that your family stays safe throughout your holiday.
1. Be aware of the location of local hospitals and medical institutions in case of an emergency.
2. Make a list of emergency contacts in the local area (e.g. fire brigade, ambulance, medical centres).
3. Malaria prophylaxis
Parents should avoid bringing their child to areas with a high prevalence of malaria without first consulting a health professional. However if the trip is a necessary one, it is best to visit a health professional least 2 weeks before the holiday as certain prophylactic medications need to be started 1-2 weeks prior to entering a malarial zone.
The choice of appropriate malaria prophylaxis depends on several factors, such as the risk of exposure to malaria, extent of drug resistance, age, past medical history, and list of current medications. Mephaquin tablets can be purchased from the pharmacy without a prescription for children above 15kg of weight. It is best to consult a pharmacist to check if these tablets are suitable for your child.
Generally, no special immunisation is required for travellers to the United States, Europe, Australia or New Zealand although all travellers be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis. Parents are advised to ensure that their child has completed their routine childhood vaccination programme before travelling. A seasonal vaccination for influenza is generally recommended for children above 6 months of age. Yellow fever immunisation is recommended for travel to the endemic zones of Africa and South America. One should always consult a health professional for a comprehensive list of vaccinations for travel to different parts of the world.
5. Prescription medications
Parents should pay special attention to the medications prescribed for your child (e.g. inhalers for asthma) and ensure there is sufficient medication to last throughout the trip. It is always good to pack more medical supplies to last a few extra days in case of unforeseen circumstances such as airport closures or flight delays.
6. Be weather-ready
A good way to make sure that appropriate clothing is packed for your child is to monitor the climate and weather conditions of the area you are travelling to. Your little one’s skin tends to be more delicate and sensitive. Hence, it is important to apply lip balm and moisturizers regularly to prevent cracked lips and dry skin, especially in dry climates. If you are planning on having some fun in the sun, make sure to slap on generous amounts of sunscreen on the skin every 2 hours. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended for children 6 months and above to protect their skins from sunburn. One should always carry an umbrella to shelter your child from rain or sunshine.
7. Boosting of digestive health and immunity
Parents may consider probiotic supplementation to boost the digestive health and immunity of the child whilst travelling abroad as risk of food poisoning may be increased due to consumption of contaminated food and water. A specific strain of probiotic known as Lactobacillus rhamosus GG can be used to reduce the occurrence of diarrhea during travelling. Alternatively, echinacea or elderberry supplementations may be considered for cold and flu treatment. Besides that, Vitamin B and multivitamins are useful to maintain energy levels for long haul trips.
8. Travel insurance
Make sure your family stays protected by purchasing a suitable travel insurance plan for the duration of your trip. It is recommended to visit your pharmacist for a detailed consultation on what to bring along as this varies depending on the demographics of your family and areas you are travelling to.
This article is contributed by Clara Lin, Pharmacist, Watson’s Airport Terminal 3 Transit North
Information provided by this article is solely for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem. Under no circumstances will Watsons Personal Care Stores Pte Ltd be liable to any person for damages of any nature arising in any way from the use of such information.