3 Common Travel Illnesses and How to Treat Them

23 June 2015

Despite your best efforts, Junior might still end up ill during your trip. For minor ailments, reach into your well-stocked travel first-aid kit and slow down your travel itinerary.

But do this only if you are familiar with the medication and your child’s condition. Otherwise, it is best to see a doctor in the country you are in, advises Dr Chan.

The top three common infections kids get while on a holiday are travellers’ diarrhoea, upper respiratory tract infections and swimmer’s ear, says Dr Sinnathamby. She offers tips on how to cope:


Travellers’ diarrhoea

The signs: He has runny stools and might also vomit.

Do this: Keep him well hydrated with an oral rehydration solution. If he has a fever, offer fever medication. Give him easy-to-digest food like rice porridge, toast, bananas or apples.

See a doctor: if the symptoms don’t go away after three days, or if he pees less, has a fever that won’t go down and is increasingly tired.


Upper-respiratory tract infections

The signs: Fever, ear ache, throat pain, runny nose and body aches. Kids are especially susceptible to this type of infections after a long-haul flight or spending time in crowded places like airport lounges and tourist attractions.

Do this: Use fever meds to control temperature spikes, as well as other ailments like ear ache, throat pain and body aches. Offer plenty of fluids. You can relieve nasal symptoms like a runny or blocked nose with antihistamines.

See a doctor: if the fever won’t go down or is difficult to bring down, or if your child becomes increasingly lethargic.


Swimmer’s ear

The signs: Ear ache, from the ear canal becoming inflamed or infected as moisture trapped in there. This is common when his ear is repeatedly exposed to water and not dried properly.

Do this: Use painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to dull the pain. Keep his ears dry. You can prevent this by using ear plugs while swimming, and drying his ears afterwards.

See a doctor: if symptoms worsen or don’t improve. Your child might need antibiotic ear drops.


By Eveline Gan, Young Parents, June 2015

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