Health & Medical Needs for Travel
The question as to whether you do or don’t vaccinate is your call as a parent, but a sick child is your responsibility.
Some have genuine concerns re this.
Personally, I do not wish illness on anyone, especially my own child, or myself.
Imagine being stuck in a hospital in the midst of a jungle – no thanks !
Or being so ill, you or your child have to fly out to receive proper treatment – a horror thought !
Also, in some countries, you simply can’t get in without vaccines – like Brazil.
Vaccinate before you go
I recommend a flu vaccine, and whatever vaccines your doctor recommends for the area you are going to. Check with your doctor, some now will arrange your travel vaccines for you – I discovered this in the surgery newsletter last time it came in the post. I trust my doctor, and am glad this is an option.
I suggest, you have the child vaccinated first, then yourself.
The sight of the needle going into you could put them right off.
Be prepared for a few tears, and maybe a treat is promised if they are younger, and are brave.
Vaccinations come out of your own pocket, and may be up to a few hundred dollars, so ensure the cost is factored not your budget. There is no price on the health or life of your child, or yourself.
Taking Medical items with you
Make sure if you are going to anywhere tropical that you take Malaria tablets, remember to take prior and after, and of course each day.
I suggest a general anti-biotic script for each person travelling, as child strengths are different from adult strengths.
Make sure you enter any allergies into your mobile phone too.
You need to carry a Travel Vaccination Certificate with you, plus ensure your child’s general vaccines are up to date, and you have a record of those too.
Refer to my section on first Aid in my Packing To Go Blog.
Remember to always take a small First Aid kit with you every day, and on the planes.
I strongly recommend a good dose of multivitamins for both you and the child, 6 months before you go. Continue these whilst you travel.
Travel Insurance if you become ill
Some countries will not allow you a visa without travel insurance.
Cuba required us to either have medical insurance, or they swiped our credit card details.
I know of people that found the medical bills and hospital stays very inexpensive, but not USA!
See the reference for free travel insurance with your Commonwealth credit card.
Have your child’s teeth checked at the school dental service.
Tell them you are planning to go away.
They may fit you in for an extra last minute check & clean just before you go too.
And of course, make sure your own teeth are cleaned by a hygienist or dentist, checked and in good order.
Any fillings need to be done now.
Don’t leave making an appointment until the last minute. I have just been on a wait list for a check-up, then more appointments for a filling, and then another 2 for hygienist. So one to action say 3 – 6 months before you go.
Make sure the dentist knows you are going overseas so he can attend to any maybes.
The alternative is extraction in some countries!
Emergency Plans if you get ill
As a single parent, you cannot take lightly that you have 24 / 7 care and safety needs with your child.
If something happens to you, what happens to them.
That is why I came up with the engraved ID bracelet with emergency numbers.
We both will wear one of these 24/7.
(Mentioned in my packing blog along with a photo too.)
Ensure all emergency contact numbers have prefixes.
Make sure the person knows and agrees to being a contact. Talk to your child about the plan you have in place if you should get hit by a bus, or go missing. This may have to be a different plan for different countries.
Have your will up to date, and funds put aside in case you have to pay for a relative or friend to fly in if you should be hospitalised, injured or something just plain horrid occurs we do not even wish to mention!
If an emergency occurs, can I suggest contacting your church if you go to one. They are linked around the world, and should find an affiliate church with people who can be trusted to come to your aid.
You do not want your child put into Government care, or taken away – no matter what !
Safety of your child is paramount.