Published on Aug 03, 2018
When I was pregnant, people would often tell me that my life would change – that I wouldn’t travel as much or discover new places. My response has always been that I’ll still travel as much, but my trips will definitely change! Since our daughter’s birth in August 2016, our cheerful Rania has scoured 6 countries. We went by train, by sea, by air, by land and even by horse. We are creating a wealth of memories and it’s wonderful to see our daughter eagerly taking in the world’s wide spectrum of cultures, alongside us.
That being said, we certainly don’t travel as light as we used to and we tailor our journey according to Rania. I research the place and activities ahead of time and depending on the destination, we plan vaccines and must-haves to bring along.
Despite all the planning, Rania has gotten sick on almost every trip. When she’s sick thousands of miles away from home, I find it even more nerve-wrecking. To help my nerves before our last trip, I reached out to Stephanie, a Pharmacist by trade, and founder of Volyse Travel. Stephanie created a hub with tips and information on travel health. With her guidance in tow, here are some of the major boo-boos that our little ones can get while traveling and how to be prepared.
- Barotrauma: it is the discomfort or ear pain during flight that happens on take-off and landing as the pressure inside the aircraft cabin changes. It is often suggested that infants and young children should try to mimic the action of swallowing by drinking, chewing or sucking. For older kids, the Valsalva Manoeuvre is a good solution: pinching the nostrils and blowing the nose, while keeping the mouth closed.
- Jetlag: when traveling over several time zones, your children could lose all sense of time and that can cause them to become more irritable. To fight jetlag, its recommended to quickly adapt to local time, to spend time outside during the day and to plan for naps, if needed.
- Motion sickness: it is a common condition, especially in kids between 2 and 12 years old. It could cause nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, so it’s advised not to read while in motion, to look ahead, or to keep motion to a minimum by choosing where to sit.
- Mosquito bites: they can transfer countless infectious diseases, namely malaria, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, etc. Precautions include avoiding exposure to biting insects, along with using physical barriers, such as screens or mosquito nets, long pants, or long, loose-fitting light-coloured clothes, and chemical barriers, such as DEET-containing repellents that can be used on children as young as 6 months old.
- Altitude sickness: symptoms may often be confused with common conditions, such as nausea, vomiting, irritability, etc. However, it’s important to recognize that these symptoms may indicate a high-altitude illness. It is generally best to stay at an altitude of less than 2,500 meters. However, if the journey takes you above 2,500 meters of altitude, a step-by-step increase of 300 meters daily is recommended, with rest days every 1,000 meters.
- Traveler’s diarrhea: this disease can lead to greater issues amongst younger children who can become dehydrated very quickly. If this happens, the best way to avoid dehydration is by consuming liquids or oral rehydration solutions.
- Other food-borne illnesses: food and water can be the culprits of other infectious diseases that can be transmitted. To avoid that, make sure your little ones:
- wash their hands frequently – before meals, after contact with pets, after using the washroom, etc.
- drink safe water
- wash objects with clean water (pacifier, toothbrush, etc.)
- avoid unpasteurized dairy products, under-cooked meats or raw fish
- Sunburn or heat stroke: make sure that your children are kept well hydrated and well protected against the sun. Make sure to pack: sunglasses, hats, long, loose-fitting light-coloured clothes, sunscreen SPF 30 at least (for kids 6 months and older). And stay cool on those extremely hot and really humid days, by staying indoors between 10 AM and 4 PM and by postponing activities that require physical effort.
In addition to everything mentioned above, I also suggest that you pack these essentials: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, adhesive bandages, an infant nasal aspirator and saline solution, tweezers (for removing splinters), a thermometer, an antibiotic ointment, an insect repellent, an analgesic for fever reduction, an antifungal cream for diaper rash, a hydrating cream and lip balm, and a cough suppressant.
Finally, stay flexible once you arrive at your destination and prepare your travel kit accordingly. As I mentioned earlier, children do not prevent us from traveling. Instead, we need to be well prepared and take all reasonable precautions, so that all goes well.
A big thank you to Volyse Travel who has collaborated on the editing of this article.
This article is sponsored by Helixia but the views and opinions expressed are mine.