5 Kiddie Travel Ailments & How To Keep Them At Bay!
5 Kiddie Travel Ailments & How To Keep Them At Bay!
Healthy, happy, and smiling kids! Isn’t that what all parents want? But while on a holiday, kids are especially vulnerable to various travel-related problems, such as motion sickness, flu and an upset tummy.
Roshni Mitra interviewed medical experts, and brought back some greats tips that will help keep your child in the pink of health, and give you one less thing for you to worry about on your family getaway!
Here are the top five ailments to be cognizant of while on a holiday with kids, and simple ways through which you can keep them at bay.
Injuries while on the playground, in the pool and sometimes in the room as well are all too common, and ironic because most of them could have been avoided by being a little more alert.
“It sounds obvious but we don’t heed it often enough. Always have an adult supervise children at play. The adult ‘on duty’ needn’t be a part of the play, but needs to be nearby,” says Diya Mathur, mother of two. She shudders as she recalls the accident that happened two years ago, when she and her husband were packing up to travel from Mussoorie to Dehradun in their hotel room.“The children had gone to play on the swing of the garden lawn, when my son came back for some rest. A while later, we had a staff coming to tell us that our 9 year-old-daughter had fallen from the swing and was lying unconscious. It couldn’t have been a more traumatic situation. Thankfully, the doctor-on-call came by immediately and things got sorted.”
Expert Advise: Kolkata based pediatrician Dr Debashish Roy says, “It stands to reason that you need to carry a medicine kit with you, and be as careful as possible. Choose your resort with care, and avoid extra high beds. Know about safety evacuation plans and availability of doctors on call, while making booking inquiries.”
Travel Tip: While most of us like to travel to pollution-free, remote destinations, if you are with a child, you need to ensure that your resort has access to instant medical aid.
#2 Cold & Flu
You can’t really predict when your kids fall prey to dampeners like cold, cough and worse – flu and viral fever. But children are susceptible to these health issues on a holiday due to a possible and sudden change in weather and temperature.
Expert Advise: Dr. Debashish Roy says, “I often have harried parents ringing me up from remote mountains to say that their child has high fever, throat infection, loose motions and cold. I can only imagine what becomes of their holidays! He advises, “When planning a vacation during school holiday breaks, try not to fly out the very first day after school closes. Give the child some time to unwind, and get ready for the holiday. I especially would like to highlight autumn breaks. Viral fevers occur most during September and October with the change of season. If you are going to travel during this period, try to acclimatize the child bit by bit. Don’t drag him straight from school to muggy Chennai or chilly Kashmir/Amsterdam!”
Travel Tip: If your child has already caught a cold, you will have to bear with it. However, by now, you would know the typical symptoms that translate to a full-on attack i.e. itchy throat, slight weakness and mild headache. As soon as you see the signs, give your child a paracetamol tablet/syrup. It’ll help to halt the progress of the cold.
#3 Tummy Ailments
Intestinal distress occurs from a blend of factors, such as climate change, being too adventurous (or careless) with food, dehydration due to long hours on the flight, and sometimes even overindulgence.
Teacher Meeta Mukherjee says, “My husband and I are foodies and love to gorge on local delicacies, but we are very careful when it comes to our son Ishaan. I believe children like a speck of familiarity. So if he wants to have Mac and Cheese even on a holiday, we’ll let him. There will be time to explore different kinds of food later on!”
Expert Advise: Dr. Roy advises,“ To avoid stomach infections, avoid ice cubes, raw salads and cut fruits, unless you are sure of the source. While heating water kills harmful micro-organisms, a cold environment helps preserve them. So ice from contaminated water is a perfect recipe to call on waterborne germs”,
Travel Tip: Ensure that your child does not over-eat on a holiday. Small meals every 2-3 hours will help their stomach engine to chug along smoothly!
#4 Travel Sickness
Travel sickness is a broad term that includes all kinds of motion sickness from air, sea to car and mountains. This is more prevalent in children between 2 and 14 years.
Expert Advise: “Unfortunately, this is common during holidays because you are constantly on the move, via a car, air or even a cruise and the body begins to bear the brunt of it,” says general physician Dr. Anil Ranade. He adds, “Travel sickness occurs when there is an incongruity between the sense of movement our eyes witness and that which the ears convey to the brain (while going in circles, or at very high speed). This creates a physiological confusion that results in nausea, weakness and lethargy.
Over-the-counter anti-nausea pills like Avomine work well if taken half an hour before the journey. If you are going to give the child a medicine when she is already nauseated, she is only going to throw it all up,” advises Dr. Ranade. He continues, “ Carry soothing aromatherapy oils and scents like eucalyptus or lavender, and try to let fresh air come inside the vehicle.
Travel Tip: If you aren’t a fan of anti-nausea tablets, make your child sit in the front seat of the vehicle (in the case of a road trip). Additionally, listening to foot-tapping music with your earplugs on is a great ways to counter travel sickness.
#5 Sunburn, Dry Skin & Dehydration
The sun is bound to get to your child’s sensitive skin if you plan to spend lot of time outdoors. Long flights, swimming and even sightseeing during the day can lead to dull, dehydrated skin and sometimes painful sunburns.
Expert Speak: Dr. Ranade advises that you should protect your child’s skin (and hair) right from the time you leave your house and begin your holiday. “A mix of serum and sunscreen lotion (safe for children) should be gently massaged onto their skin. Many parents complain that lotions lead to more perspiration, but the solution to this is simple. Apply the lotion not just before you step outdoors, but at least an hour and a half before. This gives the lotion a chance to permeate into the skin and be effective.”
Travel Tip: Drink lots of water, use a cap and avoid the sun between 12 to 4 pm (especially when you’re at the beach).
These five expert tips will surely help you avoid the unruly combination of travel and sick kids! Let us know in the comment section below if you have any of your own tips and tricks that you’d like to share…
About The Author
Having grown up in different parts of India, the nomadic spirit burns bright in Roshni, though rootedness is what she overtly likes. As a communications professional, Roshni loves to write (with her pet cat providing the Persian rug feel atop her foot as she types on). Reading, eating, travelling, and having her mind ignited by fresh, new ideas (though she may not necessarily implement them) are her other passions. She can’t swim but her current motto is, ‘Keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming.’