Do you know what to do if your kids get sick while traveling? Travel Hack TravleingMom Dia Adams is just back from a month in Asia, where learned the hard way how to cope with sick kids in a foreigh land. She’s happy to share what she’s learned with you.
When Kids Get Sick While Traveling
Every trip I learn something new about traveling with kids. Some of it is fun to share: like Disney World’s Secret Discount Dining Program . Some is not so much fun but is also important to share- like Deal Girl getting tonsillitis in Vietnam.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the kids have had a brush with getting sick on vacation: from diarrhea in Paris to eczema in Austria, I’ve seen it all.
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Here are 7 tips that will help you survive your bout with illness overseas…and my Mom confession.
1. Pack more kids’ medicines than you need because you might not be able to get them at your destination, even in developed countries.
I’ve found Chewable Advil Junior Strength Tablets are an absolute life-saver. Two quick examples:
- Deal Girl got a rash after sunburn in Austria. In the states I would have grabbed some Cortaid, but Austrian pharmacies won’t sell steroid cream to kids. I had to go with non-steroid, which helped but not nearly as quickly as cortisone cream could have.
- Deal Kid came down with a tummy bug in Paris and I wanted kid’s Pepto or Immodium. No dice: turns out the standard treatment in France is a pricey “probiotique.” The probiotics did the trick in 1/2 day, so kudos to the French!
2. Do not assume your kid has a travel-related illness.
This is a mistake I made and it’s easy to figure whatever ails your kid has to do with the water, food, heat, etc. Deal Girl started looking peaked on the plane to Danang and had a definite fever by the time we arrived in Hoi An. I pulled out the chewable Advil and put Deal Girl down for a nap. Hitting Dr. Google I re-assured myself that no alerts from the State Department mentioned any fever diseases in Vietnam. I then breathed an uncalled for sigh of relief.
3. Don’t forget to complete your Dr. Mom exam.
If I had been more alert to everyday illness as opposed to developing world stuff I would have seen her swollen tonsils. Once the doctor had me look they were pretty hard to miss. I was good about checking her frequently for fever and asking about her poop (hey, Moms need to know these things) but forgot to make her say AHHH.
4. Do not assume your kid is better even if she looks better right away.
Just 24 hours later, Deal Girl seemed better. She was tired and had little appetite, but had no fever and no real pain so I thought it had run its course. Wrong. Two days later, the fever returned with a vengeance. I should have been monitoring her symptoms more closely but chalked some of them up to the heat and general stress of travel.
5. Buy Travel Insurance.
Before leaving for Asia I bought a policy that covers all medical and $2,000 of travel expenses (basically what I would need to pay to redeposit miles and non-refundable hotel) for a month for $26/person through Allianz Travel Insurance. The purchase was a total no-brainer for me and I was SO glad to have it when $500 in medical bills came out of the blue! The best part? Having an American voice on the other end of the phone walk with you.
Teresa, the specialist working with me, was an angel of reason when I needed one. She both emailed and called the next day to follow up, which made this solo traveling parent feel not quite so alone. She was also able to recommend a doctor, although I ended up using the one the hotel recommended because she came to our hotel right away.
My hotel let me know the doctor visit would be payable in cash only, so I brought US Dollars to the appointment to pay the fee. Turns out I also needed money for the prescriptions. It took an inconvenient trip back to the room at an inopportune time to get it. Next time I’ll just bring more money.
7. Speaking of prescriptions…
Our doctor was well stocked with UK-manufactured medicine. What she did NOT have was kids’ formulations. She gave the dosage based on Deal Girl’s weight but we were given horse pills for the 8-year-old with swollen tonsils to swallow twice daily for five days. This caused me to have to get creative. With the Doctor’s OK, I dissolved the pills into a soda so she could get them down.
This leads me to my confession…I am the Mom who gave her kid soda for breakfast.
Have you had an illness overseas requiring a hotel doctor visit? What surprised you? Please share in the comments.