Here are our 5 top tips for keeping your family well – and happy! – when traveling in a developing country.
Watch what you drink
It’s our unfamiliarity with microrganisms in the local water, rather than necessarily the quality of the water, that can cause stomach upsets. Always drink purified or bottled water – and plenty of it! It’s hard to avoid tap water completely as it will be used to wash dishes and for ice – always ask for drinks with no ice. If your children aren’t big water drinkers – cartons of juice are available pretty much everywhere. Brush teeth with bottle water too!
Use hand sanitiser
We think our good health when travelling is in large part due to the liberal and regular use of hand sanitiser. Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their mouths. Take LOTS of hand sanitiser and have it everywhere with you. Keep small pocket size bottles in your pockets. Keep a bigger pump bottle in an outside pocket on your day pack with the pump sticking out – this makes for super easy, and discreet, hand sanitising.
Eat well, rest often
It’s super hard to slow down when you are keen to explore and get the most out of your family adventure but giving your children lots of down time, some good food (backed up with a daily multivitamin!) and a decent night’s sleep will help you all stay in tip top shape. Getting run down makes you more susceptible to illness.
Watch out for bumps and scrapes
Be more aware of grazes, scratches and cuts than you would be at home and treat with them with an antiseptic and cover to prevent infection. Use insect repellent to prevent bites and itches.
Take a first aid kit
Here’s what we take with us (supplied by our doctor) from home:
+ Plasters/bandaids and bandages, safety pins and adhesive tape.
+ Insect repellent (and a cream for soothing bites).
+ Antiseptic wipes.
+ Antibiotics. Our doctor provides us with Norofloxin (for travellers diarrhoea) and Curam Duo – a combination of the antibiotics amoxycillin and clavulanic acid, used to treat a wide range of common bacterial infections, including sinusitis, ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, peritonitis and septicaemia. Only use with doctor’s advice.
+ Treatment for acute diarrhoea. We take Loperamide (Imodium).
+ Electrolyte sachets (flavored powder sachets to mix with water that are suitable for adults and children replacing essential body salts and water lost due to diarrhea and dehydration).
+ Ointment for minor bacterial skin infections like cuts and abrasions. We take Foban.
+ A broad-spectrum anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory cream for itchy rashes. We take Micreme.
+ Ointment for minor cuts and grazes. We take Crystacide which contains hydrogen peroxide that disinfects and cleanses infected wounds.
+ Paracetamol (adults and children’s versions)
+ Children’s multivitamins
+ Tweezers for splinters