Oct
12
2010

Staying Healthy and Sterile While Travelling

There are so many new things to taste and touch while travelling. Susan Pederson explores how to keep healthy and relatively germ-free while travelling with kids.

When we took our youngest daughter—then nine months old—to Hawaii, I allowed her three mouthfuls of sand before I intervened. I figured, “what the heck, she’s on holiday too” and at an age where nothing is more pleasurable than experiencing the entire world orally, I was willing to change a few sand-laden diapers in order that we could all relax. 

Chances are, if you cringe at this idea, you may also be the type of parent who freaks out at the thought of the germ cesspools awaiting your child when you are travelling. You’re not alone. 

Here are a few ideas for keeping cooties from wreaking havoc on your holiday—or at minimum, your sanity—while you’re travelling.

Prepare for battle

The best way to keep kids from contracting anything on vacation is to start with healthy kids. 

For those super organized parents out there who begin worrying weeks in advance—you know who you are—this means cutting out sweets and increasing vegetable intake; boosting immune systems with homeopathic remedies; and ensuring lots of good sleep weeks before the big trip. 

For those less-than-organized parents, doing something to combat the common cold is better than doing nothing. Cutting out sweets and increasing intake of Vitamin C can help minimize the potential threat of airborne viruses.

Germ-Fighting Kit

Prepare a germ-fighting kit with:

  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Vitamin C
  • Tea tree oil (a natural anti-bacterial agent)
  • Water bottle (stay hydrated)


Prepare your surroundings

Before you decide to collapse into an airport chair, investigate your surroundings for germs that your toddler could encounter. 

With anti-bacterial cloths in tow—or baby wipes with a few drops of tea tree oil—wipe any surface or object you may find that could potentially find its way into your toddler’s mouth.

Think not only of hand-to-mouth cootie transport, but also remember their chewing habits. During my youngest daughter’s teething phase, chomping on a seat’s armrest was apparently the most sensational feeling imaginable—something I was much less comfortable with than her sisters eating sand. 

Prepare Yourself and Then Relax

Once I've done all I can to prepare, I relax (as best I can). Stress will only weaken your immune system. So stay relaxed and maybe, just maybe, you can work up to one mouthful of sand, a few grains at a time.

Photo by Nicki Dugan

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Susan Pederson

Susan Pederson is a Calgary-based writer and editor who lives with her husband and two daughters. She has written for Avenue, Homemaker’s, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, and Today’s Parent, often with one of her kids dangling from an arm or leg, and from wherever she can steal an Internet connection while travelling.

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