Different parts of the world pose different types of health risks to both adults and children. Some countries often compulsorily require specific vaccines to even allow you entry. Many parts of tropical and subtropical Africa and South America may require a certificate to prove you’ve been immunised for yellow fever before you can even gain entry. While newborns and infants make up a relatively small percentage of travellers, their growing bodies and developing immune systems means that they face similar risks but are less equipped to deal with them. Children often face diarrheal illnesses, skin rashes, insect bites and allergies and sunburn. But these are minor issues when you compare them with the risk of contracting more severe infections that can often be fatal.
Do your research
One of the first things to do when planning a trip is to check the respective country’s government health websites for vaccine recommendations. This is especially important in case highly infectious diseases with known fatality risks. For, e.g. children of any age are susceptible to Malaria, but even more so in the case of newborns and infants less than 12 months. So, if you are travelling to a country where Malaria is prevalent, talk to your doctor about antimalarial precautions and options.
Plan well ahead
Anyone who has successfully travelled with babies or children will tell you - planning is the secret to a happy holiday. Ideally, vaccine courses must be completed before travel, and you’d do well to watch for the ones which have a minimum interval between doses. Verify whether your kid’s vaccine schedule requires adjustment to ensure that they are adequately protected before travelling. This is one of the critical things to remember when planning any international travel with newborns or infants.
Talk to your doctor
Besides looking up information on your own, scheduling a quick visit to your paediatrician in advance is a good idea. Many vaccines have stipulations for administration for it to take effect properly. Breastfeeding mothers should discuss vaccination options with their healthcare provider and when you do get yourself and your baby immunised, remember to bring your records with you. In case of any unforeseeable, all information can prove useful.
Some travel-specific vaccine recommendations for infants and children include:
● Hepatitis A
● Hepatitis B
● Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib)
● Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
● Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
● Neisseria meningitidis
● Streptococcus pneumoniae
In general, you are at higher risk for contracting most vaccine-preventable diseases when travelling overseas, but with a little planning, the right vaccinations, and the go-ahead from your doctor, travelling with your baby is safer and more comfortable than ever before.
To know more about the Swasth Immunised India campaign, click here.