Travel health kit – tips for a carefree journey
Besides the passport, plane ticket, travel health insurance and, of course, money, there is also the travel health kit – one of the essential luggage pieces.
If you are travelling with a kid, make sure to consult your personal paediatrician before you begin your journey. In any case, take some essential medications, ointments and other medical supplies with you.
1. Saline solution is indispensable as it can be used for washing out mucus from the nasal passages, cleaning wounds, or for cold compresses. The most commonly used is the isotonic saline (0.90% of NaCl), but you can also use the hypertonic saline (2% NaCl solution) for allergies or heavier nasal issues. You will not find it in pharmacies of the developing countries, so take a couple of spare ones with you. A practical tip for breastfeeding mums: if you run out of the solution, you can use breast milk as a substitute and clear your child’s nose.
2. Take care of your hand hygiene by washing your hands often and by using disinfectants (wipes, sprays …).
3. Sun cream and protective lip balm with SPF 30. We also recommend very convenient and multipurpose water sprays that are refreshing and have calming and cooling effects on parents and kids.
4. Prevent allergies and insect bites / stings by wearing light clothes that cover skin, using mosquito nets and repellents. Use the latter especially in tropical places, or turn on the AC and literally blow them away. A fan also helps. When staying in Malaria risk areas, it is advisable to use repellents with DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which are not appropriate for kids since their skin quickly absorbs chemicals. Take also a (natural) balm to calm and cool irritated skin and insect bites, and helps wounds heal faster. A bit stronger are antihistamines in the form of balms that calm the stings, or in the form of pills (Claritin) that help calm allergic reactions.
5. Among medications, choose painkillers and those that reduce fever – paracetamol, in the form of drops for babies or, in the form of syrup for bigger kids. Be careful not to exceed the maximum dose (give medicine on 4h intervals)
6. Digestion problems are also quite frequent. It does not matter if it is constipation or diarrhoea; kids have to drink enough fluids every day. If the baby is constipated, add a bit of sugar to the fluids. With diarrhoea, add rehydration solutions and activated charcoal. Apply cooling balm on irritated baby’s bottom (Bepanthen is a great choice) and let your little one run around without a nappy as much as (s)he can.
7. Around 1/3 of kids suffer from motion (travel) sickness and sea sickness where the main problem is the disagreement between what our eyes perceive and what our other sensory organs perceive. We recommend you take medications such as Scopolamine (sleepiness is the side effect) that help prevent or alleviate nausea, vomiting and/or dizziness. When the condition is tolerable, try eating ginger in different forms (tea, chewing gums, lollipops, etc.)
8. If you are feeding your child AM formula, we recommend you take it with you, if you are not certain whether they sell the same brand in the country you plan on visiting. The child may refuse to drink any other brand because it tastes different.
9. Thermometer, nasal aspirator and sanitary items (plasters, gauze …)
What about a homemade natural first aid kit?
Since we became mums, we wish our kids to be healthy and to take as little medication as possible. We have been testing healthier alternatives, but we never give our kids something we do not believe in. Different individuals have different needs – this goes for both mothers and kids, so always do an allergy test first and increase the medicine dose if you think it is safe for your child.
1. Natural protection against mosquitoes and ticks – we make our own blend that has already been tested several times. Keep in mind that we used this blend in safe areas with no risk of Malaria or other tropical diseases. The blend consists of DoTERRA’s TerraShield essential oil blend, lavender EO and distilled water. Our recipe: 1 dcl (1/3 cup) of distilled water, 15-20 drops of TerraShield EO, 10 drops of lavender EO. Add lavender if you want protection against ticks.
2. Treating stings, sunburns, bumps, and healing smaller wounds – the mixture of lavender EO and base oil (coconut, almonds, etc.) is a great travel companion. Our recipe: 10ml of base oil and 2-3 drops of lavender EO. Use a clean drop of lavender EO to disinfect the wound.
3. Natural disinfectant– it is really easy to make your own hand disinfectant. Put 2-3 drops of lavender and tea tree EO in 100% pure Aloe Vera gel and add a drop of vitamin E.
4. Herpes, fungi, ear pain, sore throat– a blend of tea tree EO and base oil works great against herpes triggered by exposure to the sun and wind, has anti fungal effect, relieves a sore throat, and prevents ear infections from developing if you stay in the water for longer periods of time, or if you are exposed to wind (working together, the two are usually the best ‘recipe’ to get an ear infection). Our suggested blend: 10ml of base oil and 2-3 drops of tea tree EO.
Which medication to take and what brand? Alternative medicine – yes or no? What is my travel destination? Which options seem too risky? All these questions should be considered and answered by every parent individually because you are the one who takes responsibility for your child. Trust yourself, you know your child best. Before you leave, make a list of all the hospitals that are near your travel location and have the phone number of your personal paediatrician always with you.
We wish you courage on your new travel adventures – the world is beautiful
The tips were written together with my friend Anja, mother of 3-year-old Lola. Both of our families love to explore new corners of the world, but we always like to plan in advance and consider all of our options beforehand. The gathered tips are the result of what worked for us in our past experiences. For more information, please contact us on: email@example.com.