Some things about travelling are unavoidable, like jetlag or paying more in accommodation than you need to. But one part you can prepare for is protection against diseases. If you’re holidaying with your little ones, make sure your family postcard is one to remember (in a good way).
Once you’ve picked your destination, talk to your GP or travel-shot clinic about the vaccinations your children need. Bring a copy of your itinerary to your appointment and anything you plan to do, so your doctor can best advise you. There are certain countries that require proof of vaccination against specific diseases before they’ll let you enter. Learn about the destination at Smart Traveller or the embassy or consulate of the countries you’ll visit (or transfer through).
Here are some tips about vaccinations to prepare and protect you for your big adventure:
- Australia’s childhood vaccination program covers a range of vaccines including polio,
tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. But don’t
assume that they’re covered for travelling. They could be due for a booster.
- Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines must be up to date (particularly if you’re visiting
Asia, Africa or any country where bottled water is recommended).
- Plan enough time before your holiday departure for your boosters. Some vaccines
require more than one dose to be effective such as Hepitatis B and Rabies. There are
destinations where animal exposure is possible and young kids might want to pat
them. Make sure they’re vaccinated, just in case there’s a risk of Rabies.
- Find out if there are any destination-specific vaccines. Yellow fever is a must for
places like Africa, South & Central America as well as the Caribbean. Exploring Asia?
Japanese encephalitis shots might be necessary. Travellers to Africa normally require
protection against meningitis.
Once you’ve organised the vaccinations, it’s time to pack your medicine bag for the children.
You can never be too prepared when it comes to packing your travel ‘first aid kit.’ Everyone loves that person you can depend on who has everything. As a parent travelling to a new country with kids, you want to be that person. The more at ease you feel, the better the holiday will be.
Vaccinations will protect your children from diseases, but what about those minor day-to-day risks? Like stomach bugs, itchy skin or knee grazes. Then, it’s time to pull out your travel medicine cabinet.
- Regular Medication
Pack any regular medication your children may be taking. Don’t forget about asthma
and allergy medications. Base your supply on the length of time you’re away. Then
add a little extra, just in case there’s an emergency. Pack all important medications
in your hand luggage and day bag, so you’ve always got it close by. If you’re going
overseas, organise a letter from your doctor to show immigration if they ask why
you’re travelling with the medication.
- Stomach Upsets
Two words: Bali belly. Whether or not you’re heading for Bali, stomach bugs are one
of the most common travel sicknesses. Pack tablets for an upset stomach and
motion sickness medication if you plan to travel on boats and buses. For little
sensitive-bodied children, have medicine for diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, and
vomiting handy. Electrolytes are important for children who are sick, so bringing a
few packets for a quick recovery is a smart move.
- Pain and Fever
Paracetamol is your best travel companion when children have a high fever. It’s good
for the whole family, so bring a whole box. Remember to throw in a thermometer,
so you can check your children’s temperature should they fall ill.
The only bad thing about a tropical island are the mozzies (literally, nothing else).
Make sure you’ve got insect repellent to stop your kiddies getting bitten and
scratching away all night. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. There’s nothing worse
than the whole fam being sunburnt.
- Cuts and Grazes
Accidents can happen, especially in a new country. It’s best to be prepared for them,
by including child-friendly Band-Aids and antiseptic lotion in your first-aid kit. It’s
better to be safe than sorry.
Your family’s in for a fun adventure. Travel is one of the best ways to educate your children about the world. Just make sure you’re prepared with all the right things you need to do before and pack in your bags.
Your local National Pharmacies pharmacist will help you put your medicines list together, so come in store (and make us jealous) sharing your travel plans. We love to live vicariously.