Canada

Communicable Disease Risk 

 

Disease Last Updated           Risk Vaccination/Medication
Chikengunya (2008) 2008 Not at Risk N/A
Cholera  Nov 1, 2008 Imported Cases only N/A
Dengue Nov 1, 2008 Not at Risk N/A
Hepatitis A 2008 Low Risk Vaccine Available
Hepatitis B 2008 Northern areas Mod/High Risk      Vaccine Available
HIV 2008 Less than 1% of pop. N/A
Japanese Encephalitis           2007 Not at Risk N/A
Malaria 2008 Not at Risk N/A
Meningococcal Disease 2008 Not at Risk N/A
Poliomyelitis 2008 Not at Risk N/A
Rabies 2008 Low Risk N/A
Schistosomiasis 2007 Not at Risk N/A
Tuberculosis 2006 Low Risk N/A
Yellow Fever 2008 Not at Risk N/A
       

 

Information above has been extrapolated and compiled based on maps found on the World Health Organization website.  It is intended to be used as a guideline only when making decisions on destinations for your family and does not replace the advice of your healthcare professional and/or consultation with a  travel health clinic.  My Little Travel Bug and its proprietor(s) are not liable for any damages as a result of this information.

All routine vaccinations should be up to date prior to travel.

Emergency Contact Information 

Dial 911 from any phone for police, fire, ambulance and other emergencies.

Common Childhood Ailments While Traveling

When traveling with children, you want to be sure that you will be able to find them the medication they need in the event that they get sick.  If you are visiting a foreign country, the health care systems can be very different, language barriers make communicating with health care professionals difficult and the common brand names you are used to seeing at home do not exist.  

This list, prepared by a pharmacist is intended to give an overview of the ailments or illnesses they could have and identify products that could be available in your country of travel.  It would be a good idea to print the list and take it with you, so that you can point out drug names to a pharmacist and aid in communication process.  It is intended as a guide only to ease your comfort when dealing with a sick child, and does not replace personalized medical diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional familiar with your child’s medical history.  If your child has any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies, this information may not apply.  Please use this information at your own risk.  My Little Travel Bug and its proprietor cannot be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of this information.   

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions can be serious and life threatening.  If you are aware that your child has had anaphylactic reactions in the past, you should always carry an epinephrine pen along with physician’s note when you travel.  

If a health care professional diagnoses your child with a mild to moderate allergic reaction, such as rash or hives or serious reaction such as swelling and difficulty breathing, they may recommend the drug diphenhydramine.  It will cause your child to be drowsy (although rarely can have the opposite effect).  These are brand names to look for: 

Skin creams for redness, rash, and itch may also be recommended that contain a corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone or betamethasone.  These should be applied sparingly as a thin layer and try to avoid the face.   These are the brand names to look for:

Common Cold

Current Canadian guidelines do not recommend treating children under the age of 6 with cough and cold products.  If your child is under age 6, you can treat a stuffy nose with saline (NaCl) nose drops.  Prop them upright to sleep (eg. in a carseat).  If over the age of 6, and your child does not have any other allergies or medical conditions, you could consider products containing decongestants for stuffy nose (pseudoephendrine or pheylephrine), antihistamines for runnynose (brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine), cough suppressant (dextramethorphan).

Constipation

The best treatment is prevention.  While traveling, ensure that your children are drinking lots of water from a safe drinking source, as outlined in the ‘Safe Food and Water Practices’.  They should also be consuming cooked or peeled fruits or vegetables and fiber from other sources.  On average a child should be consuming an amount of fibre equal to or greater than their age plus 5 grams/day.  Children 12 and over can take a fiber supplement if you feel they will not be consuming adequate fiber.  

If your child does experience constipation, you can treat as follows:

Infants: Glycerin suppositories- Brand names to look for

Children 2 and up:  prune/apple or pear juice, water, glycerin suppositories, lactulose.  As a last resort you could also try products containing senna or bisacodyl.

Cuts and Scrapes

Skin cuts or scrapes should be cleaned with warm soapy clean water, antibiotic ointment applied and be covered with a clean bandage or cloth to prevent infection.  Ingredients in antibiotic ointments could include polymyxin B, gramicidin, bacitracin.  Brand names to look for include:

Dehydration

Signs of dehydration in children include:  

  • dry mouth, tongue or skin
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Decreased urination, less than 4 wet diapers in 24 hours
  • Sunken eyes and sunken soft spots in infants
  • Grayish skin
  • Pinched skin will flatten slowly

If your child has been experiencing, vomiting, diarrhea or profuse sweating due to heat, watch for these signs of dehydration.  Treatment should be with oral rehydration salts, and safe drinking water.  Seek medical attention.  

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash may be worse in warm climates.  For mild diaper rash, use a look for a cream that contains Zinc Oxide.  If the rash appears to have a defined red, raised area, there may also be a yeast infection.  This can also occur in folds of skin elsewhere on your baby’s body.  If you suspect a yeast infection, you should consult a physician.  In North America, topical clotrimazole cream is usually prescribed. 

Diarrhea

Traveler’s Diarrhea is a common problem when visiting foreign countries.  If your child has blood in their stool, a rectal temp higher than 38.9 and/or vomiting, or if it lasts longer than 48 hours, you should seek medical attention.  In children under 2 avoid, anti-diarrheals with bismuth subsalicylate and loperamide.  Caution using these ingredients under 12 years of age.  It is important to keep your child hydrated by drinking lots of fluids  (ensure it is safe drinking water) and if possible using oral rehydration drinks or salts.  Some physicians may also prescribe antibiotics.  

Earache

Earaches can be external ear infections, middle ear infections or occasionally confused with sinus infections or dental pain.  If possible, you should see a physician to have this properly diagnosed.  In many countries they do not treat middle ear infections with antibiotics as we do in North America, so you may get varying opinions on the best treatment for your child.  Pain relievers as dicussed under the headache section can be used to ease the discomfort.  

Fever

Always seek medical attention, if your child has a fever and is less than 3 months old, is not responding, is difficult to arouse, confused, has difficulty bending their neck or a temperature greater than 40.5 degrees C.  

Treat a fever by sponging with luck warm water (not cold water).  Medications used to lower fever include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  See information under the Headache section for these medications.  

Normal temperatures in degrees Celcius:

Mouth: 35.5-37.5

Armpit: 34.7-37.3

Ear: 35.8-38

Rectal: 36.6-38

Headache

The first choice for headache is usually acetaminophen.  It is very important to ensure you are delivering the correct dose for your child based on their weight.  Liquid formulations can come in many different strengths, so 1 tsp of the brand that you buy at home, may contain a completely different amount than 1 tsp purchased abroad.  Also cold medications may also contain this ingredient, so always ask before taking acetaminophen along with other medications.  

When acetaminophen doesn’t work, the second choice is ibuprofen.  It is reserved for second choice as it can be a bit harder on the stomach, so ensure that your child has something to eat before giving their dose.  Children should also be drinking adequate fluids and urinating as usual if you are going to give this drug.  As above, strengths can vary widely, so dosing needs to be specific to the product you buy.  

Heat Disorders

While traveling, your children may be exposed to higher temperatures than usual.  Watch for the following heat related disorders:

Heat Cramps area warning sign of heat exhaustion.  They are possibly caused by low sodium.  Have your child rest in a cool area and give an oral rehydration solution prepared with 5ml of salt in 0.9 Liters of water.  

Heat Exhaustion is characterized by weakness, nausea, vomiting, rapid heart beat, dizziness and headache.  Body temperature is usually between 38 and 40.5 degrees Celcius.   Have your child rest in a cool area and give an oral rehydration solution. 

Heat Stroke is a medical emergency.  Heat exhaustion symptoms have progressed to hallucinations, convulsions and eventually coma.  Body temperature is usually greater than 40.5 degrees Celcius.  Go to an emergency room, remove any excess clothing, keep as cool as possible with good air circulation on route.  

Motion Sickness (Nausea/Vomiting)

To prevent motion sickness in a car, plane, train, or boat, try to have your kids sit facing the direction of travel, and focus their gaze on a distant point.  Where possible, allow fresh air exposure and avoid reading.  Motion sickness can be treated with dimenhydrinate, for children aged 2 and up.  It will however make most children drowsy.  Occasionally some children will have the opposite reaction and become hyper.  

Pink Eye

Pink eye presents as red, irritated eyes with a yellowish discharge that often makes the eyelashes stick together.  It is highly contagious and best to treat as soon as possible.  It is recommended that all children see a doctor as there are many different types and some can be more serious than others.  

Warm compresses are recommended to soak the eyelids.  Common ingredients in eyedrops include polymyxin B and Gramicidin, trimethoprim, erythromycin, bacitracin.  Avoid neomycin and chloramphenical.  

Rash

There are many possible causes of rash.  A rash could be caused by a virus, bacteria, skin disorder, allergic reaction or be the result of some bug bites.  It is best to have this diagnosed by a physician to rule out any serious causes particularly when traveling in a foreign country.  If it is itchy, you may be prescribed diphenhydramine.   It is generally better to take the pill or liquid form.  The cream form causes worse skin reactions in some people.  A corticosteroid cream, such as hydrocortisone or betamethasone may also be prescribed to relieve redness and itch.  

Sore Throat

If your child’s sore throat is accompanied by other cold symptoms it is possibly viral and may resolve without antibiotics.  In this case, pain relievers as discussed in the ‘Headache’ section can be used to provide comfort.  If your child is old enough, you can also get them to try gargling with 1 tsp of salt in 1 cup of water.  If choking is not a risk, they can suck on hard candies or cold popsicles to sooth the throat as well.  

If you suspect it is bacterial (Strep throat) as there are white patches or it is not resolving after a few days, you should see a physician. They may prescribe antibiotics.  If Strep throat is diagnosed, treatment with antibiotics should be for at least 10 days.  Examples of antibiotics, may include:  

Teething

Teething is best treated with pain relievers as discussed above in the headache section.  Be cautious of teething preparations applied to the gums as many contain anesthetics which can cause side effects in large or prolonged doses.  If your child is in the teething years, you may want to take safe teething toys along with you.    Facecloths soaked in safe drinking water that are cooled or frozen are helpful.  

In Preparation for a Safe and Healthy Trip

Please refer to the following My Little Travel Bug References:

  1. Sun Protection for Your Family
  2. Bug Bites- Prevention and Treatment
  3. Safe Food and Water Practices
  4. Preparing For Your Family Vacation (a checklist)
  5. Packing Checklists for Infant, Toddler and Adult as applicable
  6. Games for the Car
  7. Tips for the Airplane
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