As a mum to three young children, I understand that leaving the house some days feels like a military operation, never mind going on a family holiday!
It can be even more stressful when you have a child with a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, congenital heart disease or epilepsy. the win of this article is to provide some helpful hints and tips to reduce some of this stress.
With good preparation, no destinations should be impossible. However it may be worth exploring the existence of local pharmacies, doctors or hospitals nearby. You may also need to think of any additional needs you may have such as self- catering basis for food allergies/restrictions. You may also need to enquire about a fridge, as some medicines such as insulin can be less effective when very warm or very cold.
Tiredness can worsen seizures, diabetes control, etc. and so this may need to be taken into account when choosing your flight times and destination.
Travel insurance is an essential for all trips, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. If you already have a travel insurance policy, always update the company regarding your child’s medical conditions and medications to ensure they are adequately covered. A number of comparison sites will help you find quotes for more serious conditions needing specialist cover including medicaltravelcompared.co.uk, justtravelcover.com or allcleartravel.co.uk
EHIC CARD (PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS E111 CARD)
This is a free card which is very useful for anyone travelling to European countries. It covers immediate and clinically necessary state- funded treatment until you return home. In most cases treatment will be at a reduced cost or free. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical
conditions. You can use the website to check what exactly is covered in the country you are travelling to. Make sure all adults and children are listed on the EHIC Card before travelling. Apply via nhs.uk and search EHIC Card.
If your child requires regular medication, it is important to get a letter from your child’s GP/consultant listing all medical conditions, medications and any medical devices. This is useful for airport security as well as any unplanned medical visits while away. While meeting with the GP/consultant they may recommend taking additional medications for your child such as antibiotics. It is advisable to bring at least double the medication your child is likely to need, and divide it among different bags in case any luggage goes missing. Make sure you have a supply of medications in hand luggage in case of any delays.
If you have any questions or concerns about travelling with your child, speak to their GP/ specialist nurse/consultant. Most of all, enjoy your precious and well-deserved time away with your family.
Dr Lyndsey Thompson is a medical doctor of nine years, and has specialised in paediatrics and child health for the past six years. She has three children aged seven, five and 18 months.