Although traveling is an enjoyable pastime, it can expose people to certain risks. One of risks that are of great concern to travelers is the acquirement of diseases. When people are traveling to a country where a certain contagious disease is prevalent, there is a higher chance that they will be infected with that disease. Since 2009, many travelers have been fearful of acquiring a disease called H1N1, or swine flu. This disease is highly contagious, and it can cause a wide range of health problems, including fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, headache, body ache, fatigue, and chills. If it is left untreated, it can result in serious illnesses and even death.
H1N1 has affected thousands of people in close to 30 countries, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Spain, UK, Germany, France, Italy, New Zealand, Israel, Brazil, Panama, Japan, and many others, and it has caused several deaths. If you are traveling to any of these countries, it is advisable that you get vaccinated for H1N1 before you embark on your vacation. The disease can affect both adults and children, and you should bring your children for vaccination too if they are going on the vacation with you.
According to the World Health Organization, children under the age of 10 only need one shot of the H1N1 vaccine; but the United States government recommends two shots, which must be given 21 days apart. Due to limited availability of the vaccine, research is being conducted to confirm whether one shot is enough to protect children under 10 against the disease. You can consult your local physician to find out how many doses are needed. Make sure that your children gets the first dose about one month before the day of your departure, so that there will be ample time for them to take the second shot if necessary.
Other than being vaccinated against H1N1, it is also important that you purchase a reliable travel insurance policy for you and your children. The H1N1 vaccine does not guarantee that you will not become infected with the disease; but even if you are infected after vaccination, the symptoms will be mild. If you or your children fall ill during your vacation, you may have to pay a considerable sum of money to get medical treatment, because some countries have very high healthcare costs. With travel insurance, you will receive reimbursement for medical expenses that are incurred while you are on vacation.