Caring for a sick child is challenging enough on a regular day at home with the benefit of familiar medicines and medical advice close to hand. On holiday, in a hot climate where the risk of dehydration is more pronounced, for example, illnesses can be a miserable and stressful time for everyone involved.

Prevention is always better than cure and by taking a few extra precautions you can help reduce the chance of your holiday being ruined by all too common family holiday woes such as food poisoning and heatstroke:

1. Clean water
Access to clean drinking water is paramount to staying healthy and hydrated on holiday. Buy bottled water or juice with an unbroken seal. Only let children have ice if you know it is made from bottled water. Leave a bottle of mineral water beside the sink for tooth brushing and stop children drinking shower water, tap water or pool water as best you can.

2. Eating well
Introducing your children to new foods is one of the most satisfying parenting jobs of all but think twice before hitting the street food vendors or ordering the most exotic sounding dish on the menu. Leave a restaurant if cleanliness is a concern and ensure food is always piping hot before letting the family tuck in. Stick to tried and tested ingredients or mild flavours which may be gentler on younger tummies.

3. Hand washing
Enforce careful and frequent hand washing before every meal, after every trip to the bathroom and apply hand sanitizer at appropriate points in between.

4. Stay cool
Heatstroke is never pleasant. Avoid it by shunning the overpowering heat of the midday sun by scheduling a siesta (for children who still nap) indoors or in a shaded place, or make a plan to play games together undercover until the day starts to cool down. Keep children hydrated with access to unlimited (safe) drinking water – asking them to take a sip every 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Sun sense
Never underestimate the intensity of the sunshine, especially during long-haul tropical holidays close to the equator. Use the highest factor sunscreen possible (greater than 30 at least) and cover their skin with protective UV beachwear and hats.

For more health and safety advice for family holidays, visit – https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/general-travel-health-advice/child-travellers

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