Flying out of UAE this Eid? Get checked, take flu shot before travelling, say doctors

According to health experts, families must have an adequate supply of their prescriptions and medicines before heading off to their destinations


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 5 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 6 Apr 2024, 12:52 AM

Doctors in the UAE advised residents to schedule an appointment with their child's paediatrician before finalising travel plans for Eid Al Fitr, particularly if the child has recently experienced illness.

They emphasised the importance of ensuring that all family members, not just children, are up-to-date with flu vaccinations.

Dr Alaa Zedan, Specialists Internal Medicine, Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Dubai, said, "Travelling with children, particularly when they've recently been ill or are susceptible to common illnesses like the flu, demands extra preparation and vigilance. Keep a flexible schedule, manage expectations, and include downtime for relaxation. Before planning travel, consider scheduling a check-up with your child's paediatrician."

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He added during travel, families must be proactive in avoiding close contact with individuals who are visibly ill, such as those coughing or sneezing.

"While this may be challenging in crowded places, maintaining a safe distance is an essential preventive measure to reduce the risk of transmission. Ensure that all flu vaccinations are up-to-date for every family member, not just the children. Additionally, prioritise keeping your children well-hydrated, particularly if you're travelling to a warmer climate. Pack healthy snacks rich in vitamins and minerals to support their immune systems," added Zedan.

Dr Alaa Zedan
Dr Alaa Zedan

Doctors stressed the significance of preparedness and adaptability when travelling with children, particularly concerning recent illnesses like the ongoing flu season.

He added, "It's crucial to familiarise yourself with the destination by researching any specific health risks associated with the area. This includes not only infectious diseases but also environmental factors like air quality and altitude, which can impact children, especially those with respiratory conditions."

Maintain sleep patterns

Medics advise if people are crossing time zones, they should try to adapt their sleep pattern to their destination zone a few days before they leave.

Dr Deepa Paul, family medicine specialist at Aster Clinic, King Faisal Road in Sharjah, said: "With your sleep patterns changed during Ramadan, ensure you get a good night's sleep of eight hours before your travel, especially before long-distance car travel. You can avoid caffeine and get into the sunlight as soon as possible once you reach your destination."

She added, "Avoid spicy, unhealthy oily foods, salty foods, snacks, and alcohol during your trip, especially on long journeys. Avoid drinking tap water and eat fresh fruits while travelling. Ensure you are well hydrated by drinking plenty of water."

Dr Deepa Paul
Dr Deepa Paul

Keep prescriptions handy

Healthcare professionals emphasised that families must have an adequate supply of their prescription and allergy medicines if they have a history of allergic reactions before travelling.

Dr Mahir Khalil Ibrahim Jallo, Clinical Professor and Senior Consultant of Internal Medicine at Thumbay University Hospital, said, "It's critical to bring along a trip health kit that includes prescription drugs for any ongoing medical illnesses as well as necessary medications like cough suppressants and fever reducers. Families should also be aware of the health concerns that might arise from travelling, such as motion sickness, food-borne infections, and infection exposure in crowded areas."

Dr Mahir Khalil Ibrahim Jallo
Dr Mahir Khalil Ibrahim Jallo

Keep insulin dosage in handbags

They reiterate these dangers can be reduced by adopting the necessary measures, such as carrying motion sickness medicine and using proper food handling and hygiene techniques.

"Those who are traveling between time zones may need to modify their insulin dosage, which calls for a pre-trip consultation with a healthcare professional and carry adequate stock of chronic medication. And keep them in their handbags, not checked-in luggage. When it comes to potential difficulties arising from low oxygen and air pressure during flights, patients with heart or lung disorders should also speak with their doctor. By addressing these considerations and taking proactive measures to safeguard their health, families can enjoy a smooth and worry-free Eid holiday travel experience," added Jallo.


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