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6 Ways to Care For Your Family’s Health While Traveling

Traveling with the family can be a wonderful adventure, but taking care of their health while you’re visiting countries you don’t yet know much about can be something of a challenge. Although I’ll mostly deal with the basics, the one thing you need to be absolutely sure of is that everyone’s protected by travel health insurance. While the occasional sniffle or bout of flu might not be biggies, it’s good to know that if anything goes badly wrong, you’ll have access to the best quality care available.

1. Prepare a First Aid Kit

Whether it’s a mild painkiller for a sudden headache or disinfectant and band aids for cuts and scrapes, your family medical kit may come in handy. First, make sure that you have enough of any prescription drugs your family members will need while they’re away. If you’re running low, tell your doctor about your travel plans and get a top-up.

Then add all the little things you might need in the event of minor spills following the thrills.  Apart from band-aids and disinfectant, pack gauze, a couple of rolls of bandage (including adhesive bandage), a pair of scissors, some cotton wool swabs, safety pins, and of course, painkillers. Since holiday colds seem to be the rule rather than the exception, I also like to take a cold and flu remedy I know and trust.

2. Schedule Medical and Dental Checks Before You Leave

If it has been a while since the last visit to the family doctor and dentist, schedule appointments before setting out. While you can find medical practitioners anywhere in the world, seeing the ones you know and trust as a preemptive measure is definitely a better solution. Your doctor will also know if you should consider any additional protections – for example, anti-malaria pills – and can advise you accordingly. As for the dentist, having a toothache flare up while your family is on holiday is something to avoid if at all possible, so a checkup is in order.

3. Go Easy on the Junk Food and Know What to Expect From Local Cuisine

Before you set out, find out more about the local cuisine. While you’ll be looking forward to trying some of the local delicacies, some of them may take some getting used to. For example, in countries where highly spiced foods are the norm, those who aren’t used to them can easily end up with diarrhea. Street food can be delicious too – but do exercise caution. If it looks suspicious, be suspicious!

As for junk food, it’s to be found the world over, and some travelers like a taste of the familiar fast foods. While you’ll be relaxing your standards for the holiday somewhat, look for healthier alternatives that everyone will enjoy. On a similar note, keep an eye on the sugar intake. While you might allow for rather more sweet treats than usual, bad habits are much quicker to form than good ones.

4. Keep Sleep Patterns Good, Especially if You Have Kids

Getting over jet lag is only the beginning. Since you’re on holiday, your normal schedules don’t altogether apply, but everyone needs enough sleep and young children need more of it than you do. You’ve probably got a bedtime routine at home, so try to stick as closely to it as you can while you’re on holiday. Tired kids are unhappy kids, and they will make their dissatisfaction felt through grumpiness and even tantrums. So, apart from helping them to maintain a healthy habit, you’ll also be safeguarding your sanity!

5. Stick to Bottled Water

While tap water may be perfectly safe where you’re going, it’s best to be careful. There’s also a difference between “safe to drink” and “pleasant to drink.” For example, tap water in Copenhagen, while among the safest in the world, is “hard” water, and I found the taste unpleasant. Wherever you are, you’ll have access to bottled water, so eliminating risk and choosing water with a neutral taste is as easy as walking into any convenience store.

On the subject of drinks, do have a care when choosing drinks or shakes that may have been made with local water. Hotels and other tourist facilities are inclined to be careful, but street vendors won’t necessarily take precautions.

6. Don’t Forget the Sunblock

When you’re having fun outdoors, it can be all-too-easy to forget that sunblocks won’t last all day. In fact, you should reapply sunblock every two hours. A hotel room full of sunburned adults and kids is definitely not a fun addition to your holiday, so be sure to pack a brand you trust, and slather on the sun protection regularly throughout the day.

Remember that sunblock isn’t only for the beach. Whether you’re exploring the cities you’re visiting, or out in the snow (which actually magnifies and reflects UV), sunblock still matters.

Expect to Have a Great Time

Now that you’ve taken everything that can go wrong into account, you can relax and expect everything to go right. From minor illnesses to serious accidents, you’re thoroughly prepared, and there’s no real reason to believe that you won’t have a wonderful holiday!

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