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Summer Surgery

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Families are planning their trips away, but with a new environment can bring a new set of problems, so our panel are here to answer questions on how to deal with sicknesses that might happen.

. Dr. John Ball, Fairview Park Medical Centre

. Anthea Savage - Pediatric Nurse

. Grainne Ryan - Public Health Nurse/Midwife

What illnesses are common during this time of year?

. Hay Fever
. Tummy Bugs when abroad
. Sunstroke
. Sunburn
. Mosquito bites and stings
. Travel Sickness

Minor scrapes and injuries - even if not abroad kids are more likely to get injured during the summer due to being outdoors, and playing on trampolines, sports etc.

What should you take with you when you are bringing away a baby/toddler?

1. Medication to reduce fever ( calpol)
2. Medication for pain / teething ( nuerofen junior)
3. Antiseptic cream
4. Antihistamine cream/tablets (calamine lotion)
5. Regular medication and prescription
6. Rehydration therapy (dioralyte)
7. Band-aids, gauze dressings

What you might need depends on where you are going a longer trip might require more supplies than a shorter one. Buy products in small sizes that fit easily into your luggage. Always check 'use by' date and medication shown be returned to pharmacy after they have expired.

2. What should you be aware of in a foreign country if you have your baby with you in terms of food and water?

Sterilizing- depending on child's age:-

1. Boil in water for 3 minutes (bring forceps from sterilizing unit at home)
2. Sterilizing fluid/tablet will need a plastic container
3. Use bottle liners (boots /mothercare)


This will depend on what country you are travelling to. I have seen the common formulas used in Ireland in some areas of Spain. I would suggest taking your powder formula with you. When making up milk feeds use bottled water but make sure it does not contain more than 20 mg of sodium (Na) a litre. For short trips the 'ready to feed' are very convenient.

Fresh milk can be difficult to source in some countries ask tour guide (tip: go to supermarket early)

For babies first foods (packets and jars) are available in supermarkets and pharmacists.
Yoghurts, ice cream cereals are usually available in local supermarkets.

Difficult stage may be when you have established spoonfeeding and your child is on to lumpy food and not quite ready for finger food. You may have to prepare some food in the evening. Find a restaurant that serves boiled veg ( mashed potatoes etc).
Plenty of fluids ( water and squash- watch the carbonated sugar content)

Do babies get travel sickness?

A child under 18 months o f age can't really tell you that they have travel sickness but if your child is always unhappy when travelling, then travel sickness may be the cause.

Travel sickness is caused by the brain receiving conflicting signals from the eye and the inner ear.

Travel sickness can begin with a feeling of discomfort in the stomach with an increase in saliva causing your child to dribble, feel hot, look pale and finally vomit.

Motion is not the only trigger: smells, frequent head movements, bendy roads or focusing on nearby objects.

Understanding the causes and triggers and planning your journey carefully is the key

Grainne's Tips:-

Time your journey - travel sickness is less likely during sleep.

Try not to give your toddler a full meal before travelling, light snack an hour before starting.

Keep car well ventilated and avoid over dressing your child.

Place a sun shade on the window at the side of your child to help them look forward and to protect them from the heat of the sun.
Try to get toddlers to focus forwards on long-distance

Support your child head in the car-seat to prevent your childs head from moving side to side

Be prepared - towels, wipes, sick bag

Ginger and acupressure

Research in America shows that the symptoms do reduce after frequent exposure to travelling. The majority of children do grow out of travel sickness and as they get older it becomes easier, because they can tell you when they begin to feel sick.

5. What documentation do I need in case of an emergency?

. List of Present medication
. Any Allergies
. Any medical conditions
. Travel Insurance
. EHIC - local health centre
. Private health insurance

6. What illnesses can babies have when on holidays?

Fever, diarrhoea, constipation, sun stroke, burns, hives, allergies, ear infection( very common and can ruin a holiday if not treated- can be due to an unclean pool)

Active toddlers - be aware of safety within the apartment/hotel and outside
Safety - water , strangers

Dr. Ball's Notes:-

What information would you bring on holiday?

A list and supply of your medications (and even extra supplies of important ones if lost e.g insulin for diabetics.)

Bring all documentation needed to be seen if you are sick. E111s, travel insurance and phone numbers of doctors from home for example.

Also some countries may require documentation of travel vaccines. For example if you have been to a yellow fever country some other countries will require proof that you have ben vaccinated against that.

How to avoid tourist tummy bugs and what to do if you get it?

Best way to avoid tummy bugs is to be wary of food and water. Avoid ice and use bottled water wherever possible. In places you are unsure of watch out for salads or sea-food or anything prepared in water that may be from the local water supply. Peel all fruit. If you ensure that all your food is piping hot there is much less chance that it can make you sick.

If you do get vomiting and/or diarrhoea then most will be self-limiting and replacement with fluids e.g. water with rehydration sachets for example can be adequate. If you see any sign of bleeding with your bowel motions or you have very high temperatures or you are getting very dehydrated, then do seek medical advice quickly.

What to do if you have sunstroke and what it is?

Sunstroke is when your temperature regulation gets out of control due to such high temperatures and it starts to affect your bodies systems. Symptoms can include:

. headache
. general malaise
. nausea
. chest pain
. anxiety
. fatigue

In severe cases:

. vomiting
. shock and circulatory collapse
. convulsions
. coma with pin-point pupils

Children are particularly vulnerable.

How to prevent it?

It should be prevented with sun protection measures and adequate hydration. treatment involves paracetamol, hydration and tepid bathing and in severe cases may require hospitalisation.