Though prevention and diligence go a long way, of course, there is no foolproof method against misadventure on the road. Should sickness catch you off guard, the best response is to humbly accept these things as a part of life and plan accordingly.
The most important measures include pre-travel immunization, implementing appropriate safety measures at all times especially during outdoor activities, motor vehicle safety and mosquito bite prevention.
Travel Medical Kits for Families
Although I prefer packing my own medical pack there are several pre-assembled starter kits on the market. This one is my personal favorite:
[easyazon_image align=”left” cloak=”n” height=”112″ identifier=”B0026MRZSK” locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”http://www.gapyearfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/51xj2BzDkS0L.SL160.jpg” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″ width=”160″][easyazon_link identifier=”B0026MRZSK” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”n” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Adventure Medical Kits World Travel Kit[/easyazon_link] contains the supplies you need when traveling to remote locations where medical assistance may be hours or days away. Recommended for travel to developing nations, international relief work, or adventure travel involving high-risk activities, the World Travel Kit provides you with a full complement of wound care supplies as well as medications to treat common travel ailments including stomach upset, dehydration, pain, and allergies.
Mosquito Repellent for Families
[easyazon_image align=”left” cloak=”n” height=”160″ identifier=”B00D6O6Y48″ locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”http://www.gapyearfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/51sZiTQDvL.SL160.jpg” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″ width=”160″][easyazon_link identifier=”B00D6O6Y48″ locale=”US” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″]3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion:[/easyazon_link] This is the one product you can rely upon for you and your family in mosquito country, up to the point where the hoards of High Sierra mosquitos are thick in the air (and you bust out the Jungle Juice). It’s very effective and lasts a long time. This one’s well worth the money.
[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”B001ANQVZE” locale=”US” src=”http://www.gapyearfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/415imqY8BZL.SL160.jpg” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″ width=”92″][easyazon_link identifier=”B001ANQVZE” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”gapyearfamily-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”n” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent:[/easyazon_link] As a treatment for clothing, Sawyer Permethrin insect repellent does not harm fabrics and is odorless after dried. Use Permethrin on clothing by itself or with skin-applied repellents to create the ultimate protective, armor-like insect barrier. Permethrin-treatments on clothing are non-toxic to humans and are registered for use by the U.S. EPA
Online Travel Health Resources
U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Official inoculation and health recommendations for international travelers. A great starting point for health and vaccination information about your destinations.
Kids Travel Doc – A simple and extremely useful site written by a pediatrician and updated frequently.
Fit for Travel – A wonderful resource for travel health information with great malaria maps.
LOCATING ADEQUATE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND FACILITIES ABROAD
Are you stuck in Cambodia and you think you have Dengue?
Before going abroad, you should identify adequate health care providers and facilities at your destination. This is especially true for travelers with kids and families.
The following resources list health care providers and facilities around the world:
- Travel Health Clinics Internationally – A tiny site with a lot of good info, some of the other resources below are more robust, but this is so simple that it is reassuring.
- The Department of State (www.usembassy.gov) can help travelers locate medical services and notify friends, family, or employer of an emergency.
- The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) maintains a directory of health care professionals with expertise in travel medicine in almost 50 countries worldwide. Search these clinics at www.istm.org.
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) maintains an international network of physicians, hospitals, and clinics that have agreed to provide care to members while abroad. Membership is free, although donations are suggested. Search for clinics at http://www.iamat.org/doctors_clinics.cfm.
- The Joint Commission International (JCI) aims to improve patient safety through accreditation and certification of health care facilities worldwide. Facilities that are accredited through JCI demonstrate a standard level of quality. A list of these facilities can be found athttp://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/JCI-Accredited-Organizations.
- Embassies and consulates in other countries, hotel doctors, and credit card companies (especially those with special privileges) may also provide information.
- Supplemental medical insurance plans acquired prior to travel will often enable access to local providers in many countries through a 24-hour emergency hotline.
Travel health books
- CDC Health Information for International Travel 2014 edited by Gary W. Brunette MD MPH (Oxford University Press, 2013, Kindle and print) Updated biennially by a team of over 200 health experts, this is the definitive guide to travel medicine, including easy-to-read disease risk maps, information on where to find health care during travel, advice for those traveling with infants and children, a comprehensive catalog of diseases, and detailed country-specific health warnings.
- The Rough Guide to Travel Health, by Nick Jones (Rough Guides, 2004, print) Includes a section on pre-trip health planning, an encyclopedia of health problems, and an international section dedicated to specific countries’ health risks.
- Shitting Pretty: How to Stay Clean and Healthy While Traveling, by Jane Wilson-Howarth (Travelers’ Tales, May 2000, print) A humorous, sympathetic approach to travel health, including tips on how to avoid diarrhea, parasites, and all manner of tropical diseases.
- Where There is No Doctor (Hesperian) Designed for aid workers and missionaries, this classic public-health text has meant survival for thousands in the Third World since the early 1970s. This series includes books on medical and dental care, women’s health, and other topics. PDF, e-reader or print available.
Travel and Health Insurance
There is quite a bit of overlap here so I am going to explain this a bit and help you make this decision painless and easily.
Choosing the right travel insurance
- Buy it! Not having it is not an option.
- Look for coverage for:
- Trip cancellation
- Hotel bookings
- All transportation
- Strife in countries visited
- Legal expenses
- Financial protection
- Take pictures of the stuff you own before (or during) your journey.
- Keep receipts for everything.
- World Nomads (This is definitely the best option for families)
- Insure My Trip (Good for covering gear)
- MedJet Assist Evacuation assistance
- Clements offers all kinds of insurance options including Global Health Insurance.
Choosing The Right Health Insurance
Boots and All Travel Insurance Comparison Chart – The best comparison chart on the internet start your search here.
Clements – A broad menu of options sure to fit every travelers needs.
World Nomads – Has wonderful rates for families.
Insurance when returning back to the United States
CDC of course: Here is a wonderful page of all their Destinations
- South Africa
- Special Consideration
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever