5 Essential Ways to Stay Safe While Travelling with Your Family

Family holidays are yearly affairs that everyone looks forward to, for they offer the perfect opportunity for all in the family to bond and spend time together.

While planning the daily itinerary that would keep everyone in the family happy remains one of your top priorities, it is also worthwhile to take a moment to consider the various factors that could compromise the health and safety of your family during the trip. After all, the last thing you’d want to do is to spend time and money on medical treatment in a foreign land far from home.

Here are some precautionary measures you could take to stay safe and healthy during your family travel:

1. When in doubt, opt for bottled water

While we might have access to clean water supply in Singapore, this may not apply to the country that you will be travelling to during your family holiday. This is especially apparent in certain developing countries where the water supply might contain microorganisms that will compromise your health, making it unsuitable for consumption – either directly from the tap or after boiling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a set of guidelines for safe water consumption for travellers. As a whole, it is highly recommended that travellers rely on bottled water for consumption and other uses such as brushing teeth when travelling to developing countries.

2. Be wary of the food you eat

One of the highlights of a holiday trip involves trying the local cuisine – be it in a restaurant or at food street stalls.

Regardless which ones you choose to go for, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to food safety:

  • Food that is cooked thoroughly is generally safe, as long as they are consumed while steaming hot.
  • Be careful of food that has been cooked and allowed to sit at room temperature (e.g. at a buffet spread) – there is a risk of the food becoming contaminated again.
  • It is best to avoid raw food altogether, for you can’t be sure of the cleanliness of the hands and equipment used to prepare them. This includes raw meat/fish, cut-up fruit platters and salads.
  • Street vendors in developing countries may not have the highest standards of hygiene, so do eat food from street food stalls with caution.

3. Be prepared for bug bites

Coming in contact with bugs (which includes mosquitoes, ticks and flies) during your trip could put you at risk of contracting diseases such as Zika and dengue. You can keep yourself and your family safe by taking the following steps to prevent bug bites:

  • For adults and older children, use insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET for protection against bugs. Babies and young children can be protected from bug bites by placing a thin muslin cloth over their carrier or stroller.
  • Opt for soft, comfortable clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and a hat when dressing up during your trip. For maximum protection, you can tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Go for hotel rooms or other family-friendly accommodations that are air-conditioned or those that come with window and door screens to keep the bugs away. Do check the beds before sleeping in them to ensure that they are clean.

4. Stay away from animals

If your travel itinerary involves up-close encounters with wild animals, do be careful of your movement and interaction with them.

Some wild animals may attack if they feel threatened or see the need to protect their territory from unwanted visitors. Animal bites and scratches can lead to illnesses such as rabies, so do protect yourself by not touching or feeding animals you do not know.

If you get bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound with soap and clean water immediately. Then, make arrangements to see a local doctor for medical advice.

5. Prepare your travel medicine kit

Remember to visit your doctor before your trip to get all the necessary travel medicine for everyone in the family. You’ll never know when you would need them to treat common ailments such as diarrhoea, nausea, fever and flu while you’re travelling.

 

Travel safely this year end! 

Consult your doctor or purchase your Travel Medicine at MindChamps Medical Clinic. Book an appointment at your preferred clinic today!

Reviewed by Dr Herbert Tan, Family Physician and Resident Doctor of MindChamps Medical @ West Coast.

 

 

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