International Travel: Information for Parents Admin February 4, 2024

International Travel: Information for Parents

When you and your child are traveling abroad you want to have the best experience possible to enjoy, have fun, discover and remain disease free.

How can your Consultant Pediatrician in Dubai help?

A good starting point is right in your pediatric doctor office many weeks before your trip:

  • Review your children’s vaccinations with your doctor.
  • Make sure your child has received the recommended immunizations necessary for his or her age. These include vaccinations for diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), chickenpox (varicella), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B,  meningococcal and pneumococcal infections, and the flu.
  • Immunizations against diseases such as polio, for example, are especially important when your family travels internationally. Even though the number of countries where travelers face a risk of getting polio is small, outbreaks do occur, and it’s important for your child to be fully immunized and protected.
What are the Non-Routine Children’s vaccinations to consider?

In addition to the routine vaccines, your child may need others as well. This will depend on the parts of the world to which you’re traveling and the activities in which you and your child will be participating.

Here are some examples:
  • Meningococcal vaccine is recommended for travelers to areas of Africa, Umrah and Hajj.
  • Rabies vaccines may make sense for children who will be traveling to areas such as developing countries where they could meet rabid dogs and other animals. These vaccines are particularly important when going to parts of the world where it could be difficult to quickly obtain rabies immunizations and medical care if needed.
  • Yellow fever may be found in parts of South America and Africa. Some countries require the yellow fever vaccine before allowing travelers to enter. Keep in mind, however, that your pediatrician may not have the vaccine available in the office, so plan ahead. Certain vaccines are usually given only at places chosen by state health agencies.
  • The typhoid vaccine is recommended for children and other travelers who could be exposed to contaminated food or water.
  • A flu shot may be given to a child traveling abroad, depending on issues such as the youngster’s current health and chances of being exposed to the flu.
What about other diseases that don’t have vaccines?

There are no immunizations for some of the diseases that may be found in other countries.  However, there are some steps you can take to protect your child:

  • Travelers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting international tourists. It occurs most often in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Carefully choose foods and drinks for your child to prevent diarrhea.
  • Do not eat anything from street vendors and stay away from food prepared and served in unclean conditions.
  • Also  avoid raw or undercooked meat, as well as raw fruit and vegetables.
  • Only drink  water that comes from treated sources. Safe drinks include bottled carbonated water and water boiled or treated with chlorine or iodine.
How can I reduce my child getting bitten by a mosquito?

Preventing mosquito bites can lower the risk of getting certain infections, including Zika virus, chikungunya, malaria and dengue fever. Some tips to reduce mosquito bites are:

  • Have your child wear long-sleeved cotton shirts and long pants.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) to bare skin. It should be put on lightly and washed off once the child comes inside.
  • Use bed nets and window screens for added protection.
  • If preventive medicine has been prescribed for malaria, make sure it is taken as directed.

Consulting with your Consultant Pediatrician in Dubai before traveling abroad can significantly enhance your child’s health and safety during international trips. They can review and update your child’s vaccinations, advise on additional immunizations based on your destination, and offer guidance on preventing common travel-related illnesses. This preparation ensures your child is protected against various diseases and provides peace of mind for a more enjoyable and worry-free journey.