Now that most schools have adjourned for the summer, families are starting to take their long-anticipated vacations away from home. Whether you are planning on driving to the beach for some sun and sand, or flying to another city to meet with family or explore new cultures, there are a few things parents traveling with children who have chronic health conditions should keep in mind. Fortunately, pediatrician and Travel Ready MD, Dr. Sarah Kohl, has that topic covered:
Traveling with a chronic illness (TCI) is more common than most of us realize.
We don’t ask…they don’t tell. They just travel.
Often works out. But sometimes it’s a cluster or even downright dangerous trying to get medical care when traveling.
Patients and their advocates have figured this out. They’ve developed lots of resources that are available on the web.
While working on an article about travel in children with special healthcare needs I developed a table of patient resources.
That table of Internet resources for children and adults traveling with chronic illnesses can be found here. Perusing the various links that are included, some common themes emerge:
> Check with your child’s doctors to receive any travel-related tips and information before heading out.
> Carry a list of current medical conditions, medications, drug or food allergies, and the names and phone numbers of your child’s physicians.
> Consider ordering and wearing a medical alert bracelet.
> Make sure to refill and bring more than enough prescription medications with their original labels on and any over-the-counter medications you may need.
> Always carry emergency medications everywhere you go.
> Make sure your child is completely immunized, including an annual flu shot.
> Bring your insurance card and know what your insurance company will cover in case of a medical emergency or the need to unexpectantly see a medical provider.
> For food allergies, bring a food allergy chef card (available here in different languages) to alert restaurant staff about food allergies.
> Make sure to stay hydrated during hot weather.
> Apply sunscreen adequately and frequently.
> Wash hands frequently; bring disinfectant wipes.
> Bring appropriate infant car seats and always buckle up!
> Consider purchasing travel insurance that will cover possible medical transport costs.
More information regarding your destination can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travelers’ health webpage and the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers (IAMAT.org).