Staying healthy when you’re away starts with planning well before you go. The first thing to do is see a doctor about what sort of vaccinations are recommended for your destination. In many cases if your child’s routine immunisations are up to date you won’t need to do anything extra. You can go to a GP for this but a specialist travel medicine clinic is probably best as they have all the up to date information and immunisation medication on site.
You should start thinking about this about eight weeks prior to departure in case you need a course of vaccinations.
Before you leave home, it’s important to be up to date with all routine childhood immunisations as prescribed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
If you have a baby or very young child, you might need to bring forward the routine immunisation schedule before you depart.
Travel vaccinations for children
Children require the same vaccines as adults for specific regions. Hepatitis A and B are the most commonly recommended ones, followed by typhoid and rabies, and anti-malaria tablets.
At the time of writing, if you were travelling to Scandinavia, the UK, USA and western Europe, you’d probably be recommended to have the NHMRC immunisations up to date, and possibly a rabies vaccine depending on which countries you’re travelling in.
However if you were travelling to parts of South America or Africa you are required to have a yellow fever vaccination; without proof of this you may not be allowed automatic re-entry into Australia or entry into some other countries.
Many families plan a main trip to somewhere like the UK or Europe – “safe” destinations as far as health is concerned – and then have a stopover in India, China or Thailand on the way home. Don’t forget that there are very different health and immunisation requirements in these stopover countries.
The length of time you’re away, and the types of places you stay also affects health requirements. For example, you might not need a Japanese Encephalitis vaccination for a week-long holiday at a Phuket resort but it will most likely be recommended if you’re travelling around Thailand for a couple of months and spending time in remote locations.