Posts Tagged ‘children’

Family travel

Dr Matthew Cardone – Doctor from Tweed Heads  

My family and I travel regularly to an island in South West Fiji called Tavarua. It’s a magic island, shaped like a love heart. Tavarua is primarily set up for surfers. It is close to not one but two world-class reef breaks nearby – drawing surfers from around the world. The most famous surf break “Cloudbreak” is home to the Fiji leg of the World Surfing Tour. The island is a fantastic destination for families, with idyllic white sand beaches, great for snorkelling, the coral is astounding. The reef fish are beautiful. The water is warm. The dolphins are friendly and the fishing is fantastic. The only thing better than the place is the people. Never have I experienced a happier, warmer and kinder culture.

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Travelling with Kids

Dr Douglas Randell, TMA Member in Canberra


The thought of travelling with kids may provoke anxiety for many parents, but well-planned trips are very safe. While travel immunisation is essential, kids are more likely to be injured in accidents, than they are to become sick with serious infections. It is well worth putting some time into considering risks and accident prevention prior to travel.

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Immunisation – Children and Travel

… Prepared by TMA Member Yeppoon, Qld: Dr Julie Burke

Travelling with children can be very rewarding. People of all ages and cultures are drawn especially towards children, often making the family travel experience especially fulfilling.

Travelling with children does, however, pose some extra challenges. Ensuring optimum preventative care with pre travel vaccinations can eliminate some of these extra stressors.

Routine Schedule of Vaccinations

All travelling children should be immunised in accordance with the Australian National Immunisation Programme. If you can not find documentation of your child’s vaccinations; this can easily be retrieved from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. Travel doctors will tend to adopt the policy of “no documentation means not immunised” and vaccination will be recommended; as evidence shows the risk of adverse events if a child is inadvertently revaccinated far outweighs the risk of the disease.

Routine schedules are designed to vaccinate children at the earliest age when they respond with optimal, long-term protection. Little ones are more susceptible to disease but usually have little chance of exposure in Australia. However, travelling to developing countries, the risk of exposure may greatly increase. Almost all of the routine vaccines can be given early and more frequently than the schedule suggests.

Measles, for example; is an exotic disease in Australia, but is regularly re-introduced by young travellers, especially from regions where there is no national programme to eliminate it. The Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccination can be given as young as 9 months of age but with a booster 3 months later.

Since late 2008, an Australia-wide whooping cough epidemic has seen an increase in hospitalisations of infants with life-threatening whooping cough. It is highly infectious; making little travellers highly vulnerable in crowded airports/aeroplanes/countries.

Polio has been eradicated from most of the world but still circulates in many developing countries, particularly Africa and the Indian sub-continent and, to a lesser degree, Indonesia and the Arabian Peninsula.

The routine whooping cough/diphtheria/tetanus/hepatitis B/polio vaccination given at at 2, 4 and 6 months can be given at 6 weeks; 10 weeks; and 18 weeks without affecting the booster immunity. The 3rd dosage may even be given as early as 14 weeks if the child at high risk; but an extra booster to cover for the hepatitis B component of the vaccination would be necessary.

Rotavirus; the predominant cause of severe dehydrating gastroenteritis in infants and young children in both developed and developing countries; can also be prevented through an accelerated schedule; the first dose of this can be given as young as 6 weeks with interval between dose between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dose at 4 weeks minimum.

Meningococcal disease is both sporadic and epidemic throughout the world. with meningococcal C associated with small clusters in schools and child care centres. On the schedule; the protection against group C meningococcus is a single dosage of vaccine at 12 months; but this can also be given early 2-3 doses (dependant on the specific vaccine) starting at 6-8 weeks of age.

Travel-specific Vaccinations

Vaccinations such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, TB Japanese Encephalitis, and Influenza may be recommended to your child for country-specific disease cover and accelerated schedules may also be possible for these vaccinations.

Influenza, for example is one of the most common travel-acquired vaccine-preventable illnesses and vaccination should be considered in all children travelling overseas.

All persons aged up to 6 months should be vaccinated against influenza. The 2010 suspension of 2 influenza vaccines (Panvax and Fluvax) in Australia has been fully investigated; and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has now recommended the use of 2 vaccines; InfluvacReg and VaxigripReg in children between 6 months to less than 10 years. Two doses one month apart are needed if under 10 and receiving influenza vaccine for the first time.

Such accelerated schedules are highly recommended for any families taking infants overseas for several months in their first year of life.

Travelling With Children Tip

Tired and hungry children do not do well with vaccinations! Well rested and fed children who have had Emla cream/patch applied to the area of vaccination area can make a huge difference to the pleasantness of a pre-travel consultation.

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Travelling Children

Travelling Children
Some recent studies have documented the likelihood of illness in children travellers. They reported roughly one in 3 children who travel abroad, will acquire a travel-related illness. Diarrhoea, feverish illness, skin conditions, and respiratory problems were the most common. Infected insect bites and sunburn also rated a special mention. Risk varied by age groups and destinations (greatest for African destinations). Young children visiting friends and relatives in Africa or Asia were at greatest risk; they visit places less frequently visited by tourists, and so are exposed to more of the local diseases.In the U.K., imported diseases account for 2% of pediatric hospitalizations. In one group of child travellers with fever; 59% had specific diagnoses, mainly malaria, glandular fever (highest in age group 15-19 years), and dengue fever. There were also cases of typhoid and paratyphoid ( from Asia); meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis, visceral leishmaniasis, and hepatitis A simvastatin 10 mg.

One study also highlighted high rates of fatigue, itching, nausea, and sunburn while children were abroad; symptoms of which were not common in adults. Interestingly, one study found children received four times more insect bites than their in parents. Adolescents (aged 15-19 years) behaved more independently, undertook more adventure travel and backpacking, and were more likely to acquire glandular fever, sexually transmitted diseases, and suffer trauma.


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Travel Health Information

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