Travel and your children’s health

Photo by Martin Widenka on Unsplash

There are several things to consider regarding your children’s health when planning international travel. Some preparation before you depart can avoid issues later on.

First, before you leave, go to the CDC Yellow Book website and search for your destination country. For example – I entered Brazil. This brings up updated official travel advice. It lists any vaccines that are advised. For Brazil all routine vaccines are advised including hepatitis A, as well as typhoid and yellow fever vaccines. Some parts of Brazil are currently having a yellow fever outbreak. Most pediatric offices carry the hepatitis A vaccine. For typhoid you most likely have to go to a travel clinic, infectious disease practice, or some urgent cares with travel services. The yellow fever vaccine is currently in shortage and is difficult to find. The Yellow Book has a link to find clinics with available supplies. Some parts of Brazil have malaria and most pediatricians can prescribe medication to prevent malaria. If your pediatrician does not do travel prescriptions a travel clinic or infectious disease office can be visited. Vaccines typically take 10 days to take effect and some travel clinics are booked well in advance so it is best to plan months ahead to get all the advised vaccines.

One note for immigrants and their children returning to countries of origin. Just because a parent may have lived there without having had certain vaccines or taking certain precautions does not meet their children are immune. I have seen several cases of people who became ill after returning to their or their parent’s home country.

Another concern with international travel is food safety. Illnesses such as typhoid, hepatitis A and others are spread through contaminated water and food such as produce washed in contaminated water. The Yellow Book has information on eating safely. You can ask your doctor about a prescription to take with you in the case of severe diarrhea.

Insects spread diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika and others. Insect repellent should be brought with you and used. Mosquito nets can be helpful at night in tropical areas. Here is a page from Healthy Children about choosing insect repellant.

Sun protection is an important consideration. The sun is strong in tropical areas and a bad sunburn can ruin a day and raise the risk of skin cancer later in life. Sunblock should be packed and you can consider bringing light, thin, long pants and shirts for protection. Info from American Academy of Dermatologists about sunblock.

Bon voyage !

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *