So what preparations should families take before heading off to exotic, and not so exotic holiday destinations?
Probably the most important things to pack are sunblock, tropical strength insect repellent and dressings for minor grazes and cuts that inevitably occur just when you thought you didn't need them! If you are intending to go to areas or countries where hygiene standards are not as stringent as here in Oz, then be prepared for a dose of the "trots". Most cases of gastroenteritis are self limiting, but it's pretty miserable to have to endure for 24 to 48 hours whilst the world falls out of your bottom!! Good personal hygiene is essential, and make sure that what you eat is well cooked: and look out for those salads and eggs/chicken that might not be cooked all the way through. The key to surviving Gastro is to keep hydrated: you can get sachets of dry powder containing all the salts that the body is losing down the toilet: you just add the powder to bottled water so that you replace not only the fluids that you lose, but also the salts, that if not replaced, leave you feeling washed out.
But in many areas of the world there are exotic diseases that require vaccination: this raises the problem of how many shots, and when to have them and what are the side effects. I always go to the CDC in the US which always has comprehensive and up to date advice for travel to all parts of the world. So here's a link to the CDC:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/I'll also add it to the "tool bar" on the right for future reference, check it out, especially for all those who intend to travel abroad. Unfortunately it's too late for the favourite daughter, but I have assured her that I am prepared to do a home visit if she needs it!!