We happily got off the plane after a long flight ready to enjoy our overseas holiday. We had two amazing days full of laughter and discoveries. On the third day my son got a fever. Five days and numerous doctor’s visits later he was hospitalised. Not the idea holiday by far, but it happens. What can you do to make sure your child receives the best possible care and recovers as quickly as possible?
Don’t leave without a good travel insurance
Medical treatment overseas can be costly. Insurance will also cover your expenses if you need to change your travel arrangements due to illness. You don’t need financial stress in addition to worrying about your child’s health. Don’t automatically go with the insurance provided when you pay by credit card, read the fine print. Does your insurance company has a 24-hour assistance line? Will they take over excessive out-of-pocket expenses for you or do they expect you to pay and get a refund later? Give yourself peace of mind and do your research before you go.
Keep your child hydrated
You always hear how important it is to drink a lot of water, but it’s easy to dismiss until you have to learn it the hard way. Add dehydration to jetlag and fever, and a simple virus can quickly turn into something that’s impossible to treat out of hospital. Remember that plane travel and high temperatures increase the body’s need for hydration and make sure your child is getting enough liquid.
Have simple remedies at hand
This is especially important if your travels take you to a place where you don’t have immediate access to a pharmacy. Bring basic medicines to relive your child’s fever or treat any other conditions your child might be getting frequently, so that you can act quickly if you need to.
Seek medical help
Don’t let language barriers or cultural differences deter you from seeking medical help. The staff at the hospital where we went with my son was outright rude by my standards. I took it as a sign that they didn’t care and refused hospitalisation the first time they offered. We had to go back two days later when it was obvious that my son’s condition was getting worse. Once he was admitted into the children’s ward, it turned out that the staff was efficient, knew what they were doing and I couldn’t fault them. I only wish I hadn’t made judgements based on appearances earlier. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with the care you’re receiving, look for an alternative. One place where you could get advice is your insurer’s 24-hour help line.
Was my son’s illness a scary experience? Of course. Would I travel with my kids again? Absolutely. Illness can happen anywhere and it can be managed. Don’t let the fear stop you from sharing wonderful travel experiences with your children.
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