I am still smarting as I write this article. We have just had our youngest, Emilie in hospital with dysentery. Words cannot describe – to be so far from home and to see her so sick so quickly was beyond words – but alls well that ends well. First let’s talk about travel and health. This is a hard one – choosing your kids health options are very personal – despite the states best intentions. We all have to do what makes sense to us and what fits within our skills set and experience. First thing to declare up front is that, as a general rule, we believe in prevention first and treatment last. So if your pre-trip medical care includes being treated for every possible bug and then some, page is probably not for you. Visit your local travel doctor, follow their advice and we may meet up again on another page.
From our POV the most critical thing was to ensure the kids were in the best shape possible before we left. We put the whole family on a strict immune building diet for about 6 months – NO refined carbs, sugars, processed foods etc for a full 6 months. Everything was home cooked and as fresh as possible, they positively glowed. Oh yeah they complained but they also said they felt better eating that way! So when we left they really were in great shape. And we felt that was important because:
- their allergies (severe),
- the stress of travelling,
- the food here.
Do a first aid course. If you don’t have those skills already it is really important that at least one adult is confident and competent to deal with the range of situations that can and often do arise when you least expect it specially when you travel with kids.
The matter of travel vaccination is for some a difficult and personal decision. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that if you do choose to use travel vaccinations make sure you are very well before hand and look out for and treat any reaction. Rest for a day or two afterward and support your system as much as possible while it integrates the foreign material and recovers from the shock.
Travel health kit – obviously it needs to include any prescribed medications and a letter from your doctor. Apart from that the sky is the limit – pardon the pun. Again it is what you are biased towards; pharmaceuticals, herbs, homoeopathy etc or a combination of any or all of these. We brought a combination and due to the size of the article we will list that as a separate post. As a generalisation, carry the things you know you can’t get where you are going. That said, pack good band aids – we have found it really hard to get good band aids here. If you don’t know anyone where you are going, talk to the embassy and ask a range of questions about what you can get where.
What ever your bias make sure you have something to treat stomach bugs and to avoid dehydration. Include electrolytes in your kit – they are available in lollies if your kids cannot tolerate the drinks. Make sure you know how to recognise the signs of dehydration – our policy is If you are caught at a pinch Coca cola can often help diarrhoea – depending on the cause.
Be able to use basic medical phrases in the relevant language – there are man sites on line that can help with this. Travel Medical insurance is a must – most often a private hospital will be necessary.
Air travel is stressful; stay hydrated. That said you don’t necessarily want to be running to the toilet every half an hour, walking yes, competing for the toilet no. The Berry Tree Proformance Hydration bags will help here; maximum hydration and oxygenation in 9000mls water. Depending where you are going culture shock is a part of travel – minimise it with some rescue remedy – which will also help with jet lag. Keep your system humming along with combination 12 tissue salts. Jet lag is no fun so minimise it with products like No-Jet-Lag and no we are not affiliates for this product. I was however impressed by the high profile testimonials. As you are probably already aware there are a host of these kinds of products available. I just threw this in for those who have been living in a cave 🙂
When you get to your destination be sure to rest for a day or two to recover. Eat lightly and take in lots of fluids. Make sure you find out what is in your area and that you secure the name and contact details of reliable help should an emergency arise. Schedule in rest days, especially important when travelling with kids. Make sure you use bottled water to brush your teeth and do not let kids eat ice cubes.
Fruits such as banana and avocado are perfect keep up vitamins and energy while being very safe. Carry a little first aid kit everywhere and make sure you have wipes with you at all times – including sterile wipes just in case.
Enjoy and travel safe