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What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN

Vacations are meant for relaxing in the sun and spending time with loved ones. Illnesses may quickly ruin those plans when your child is sick, though. 

As a parent, preparation is essential and prevents potential catastrophes. From having your kids’ clothes packed to bringing necessary medications, it may seem overwhelming to ensure that you’re ready for the trip.  

Utilize these tips to stay prepared for your next family getaway.

What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

Parents have enough to worry about on vacation between creating the activities and coordinating the family. When your little one wakes up with a fever or starts coughing, it’s important to have a plan.  

Simple preparation before your trip alleviates unnecessary stress and prevents further problems. Consider these four tips as you plan for your next family vacation: 

Pack a First Aid Kit 

Bring some basic first-aid items such as band-aids, gauze, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, elastic bandages, and tweezers. A thermometer and at-home covid test are highly recommended, as well. 

Consider your trip location when packing your first aid kit. If you’re heading to the beach, pack sunscreen and aloe lotion. For babies, add a nasal suction, rectal thermometer, diaper rash ointment, and other items specific to infants. 

Don’t assume that your hotel or local convenience stores will have these items.  Every area is different, so it’s best to be prepared.

Call Your Insurance 

Before leaving for vacation, call your health insurance plan to assess if medical services are covered in that area. Consider adding travel insurance with health coverage, especially for international journeys.  

Identify if there is urgent care or other medical care providers near your vacation spot.

Talk to Your Pediatrician

Inform your children’s pediatrician that you’re traveling. If your trip is international, your pediatrician may have specific recommendations for that area. Some healthcare providers offer telehealth services, as well.

Discuss any medical conditions or travel concerns with the pediatrician. If applicable, write down the primary care office’s on-call phone number in case a situation arises. 

What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

Update All Vaccinations 

At least one month before your departure, ask your child’s pediatrician if they are up-to-date on their vaccination status. 

Minimize travel for Infants under 60 days old as they are too young for some vaccinations and their immune systems are still developing.

If you’re traveling internationally, you and your children may need additional vaccinations to protect against yellow fever or typhoid, for example. The Centers for Disease Control provides an overview of recommended vaccines based on the country. 

Bring Over-The-Counter and Prescription Medications 

If your little ones are prescribed medication or regularly take over-the-counter medication, ensure you pack more than enough for the trip.  

If you’re flying to your destination, pack the medication in your carry-on luggage in the original bottles. Checked bags have the potential of getting lost and you may need the medication during the flight. 

Some commonly used over-the-counter medications to pack are acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain/fever, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions, and cough/cold medication.  

Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s dosing recommendations.  Discuss which medications are age-appropriate for your child with their pediatrician. 

Final Thoughts

From ear infections to strep throat, there are a variety of childhood ailments that may affect your family vacation. Don’t let the possibility of sickness ruin your fun and relaxation.

Plan with these tips to ensure that you’re prepared for any obstacle.  If you didn’t expect a symptom or issue, don’t panic.  Your child’s pediatrician wants to help, so don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns.      

For any serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention at the local emergency room. 

What to Do When Your Baby or Child Gets Sick on Vacation

More travel tips for you and your family:

As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India. 

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