[Expert Tips] Pre -Travel Health Checks

Familystaysg - Pre travel health check

Tips are provided by Dr Chan Poh Chong, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine from National University Hospital

In order to enjoy the holiday, parents should ensure that the child is well, and protected from the common diseases in the country they are travelling to, especially since many are now visiting exotic and under-developed countries. We got behind the line to get in touch with Dr Chan Poh Chong on what to take note before you pass the immigration check point especially you have a baby/toddler to look after.

Familystaysg - Pre travel health check

Before departure – what to take note: 

You should learn about the health risks in the country or countries that you plan to visit, your own risk of disease and the steps you can take to prevent illness and injury. If you or your child feel ill, consider delaying your departure. Health, security and avoiding injury are your responsibilities and should be considered before, during and after travelling abroad.

You should also be aware of food safety and proper hygiene practices, and also be prepared for any minor ailments that may arise. Prior to leaving, ensure your children to have all their routine vaccinations updated. For example, Malaria prophylaxis should be considered if the countries you are visiting have endemic malaria, the places you are staying and the activities that you are undertaking would exposure them to mosquitoes. 

Go through below assessment before travelling with your kids: 

  • current state of health and pre-existing medical conditions ?
  • destination – under developed or well developed countries with extensive medical care?
  • length of stay? 
  • climate and season – winter or summer, hot or cold?
  • type of accommodation – hotel, resorts, or friend’s place?
  • itinerary and activities – outdoor activities? 
  • local conditions – any outbreak of diseases on recent news? 

Familystaysg - Pre travel health check

Precautions to take: 

Children should be fully immunized with regard to their routine vaccinations, and if necessary, booster shots be given for those who may need them. The decision for vaccination also depends on the area travelling to, the season and the length of stay as mentioned below.

For those travelling to more remote areas where sanitation is an issue, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are recommended. Other optional vaccines like the influenza vaccine for winter periods, yellow fever vaccine for Africa and South America, and meningococcal vaccine for travel to Sub-Saharan Africa and Saudi Arabia. Japanese b encephalitis and rabies vaccines may be considered to areas where the risk is exposure is high.  

Familystaysg Team tips on what to prepare: 

Be prepared to deal with your children’s minor health problems yourself and know what to do and where to go in case of a more serious illness. Remember to bring the following:

  • an adequate supply of baby products, such as formula and snacks
  • over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and packets of oral rehydration salts for mixing with safe water
  • prescription medications and permission letters for controlled drugs and needles
  • a copy of your children’s immunization records
  • a health care provider’s letter outlining any chronic conditions

Babies, kids and adults would all need similar protection, but certain vaccines may not be effective in the younger ones. A consult with your doctor would usually clarify these. 

Be safe,


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