UAE doctors urge parents to ensure children are vaccinated before summer travel

UAE doctors urge parents to ensure children are vaccinated before summer travel

Healthcare professionals in the UAE are reminding residents to ensure that their children's immunization schedule is up to date before traveling during the summer.

They stress the significance of vaccinating children in advance, as it allows enough time for the vaccines to provide the necessary protection before their travels.

Dr. Sarra Abu El-Gasim, Consultant General Paediatrician at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, explains that immunizations work by strengthening a child's immune system and increasing protection against infections before they come into contact with them. This process is similar to being infected with the disease without experiencing actual symptoms. Dr. Abu El-Gasim recommends getting the necessary vaccinations a few weeks before travel to allow for their full effectiveness.

It is highlighted that vaccinations prevent millions of deaths worldwide each year. Some essential immunizations for children include those against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (DPT), polio, and hepatitis B. Depending on the travel destinations, additional vaccines may be recommended. It is important for parents to consult healthcare professionals or visit a travel clinic for advice on specific travel-related vaccinations, such as typhoid, yellow fever, or meningococcal vaccines.

Region-specific immunisation crucial in preventing illness and complications

Dr. Osama Elsayed Rezk Elassy, clinical assistant professor and head of the division at the Centre for Pediatrics and Neonatology, Thumbay University Hospital, highlights the importance of ensuring children's immunizations are up to date before going on a summer break. This precaution is crucial to keep children healthy and protected from vaccine-preventable diseases they may encounter while traveling. Different regions have different germs, so having the right vaccines can help prevent potential illnesses or complications.

In addition to mandatory vaccines, doctors advise that annual influenza vaccination is important, particularly during flu season or for travel to areas with higher influenza activity.

Dr. Elassy recommends certain vaccines based on the child's age. For children above 5 years old, it is ideal to ensure they receive the second dose of the chickenpox vaccine and at least one dose of the typhoid vaccine. At the age of 10, a DT (diphtheria and tetanus) vaccine and a Hepatitis B booster should be administered. At 12 years and above, the first dose of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine is recommended, followed by the second dose six months later. Additionally, children should receive a DT vaccine every ten years to maintain their protection.

Healthcare professionals note that parents in the UAE receive regular updates from their child's clinic regarding vaccinations. It is encouraging to see that the majority of parents proactively stay informed about their children's vaccination schedule.

Dr. Joy Fragante Taclas, a Specialist Paediatrician with Prime Medical Centre Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, emphasizes that all immunizations according to age are essential and should be kept up to date. Vaccinations not only protect individuals but also help prevent the spread of diseases within the community and to other countries. It is important to vaccinate ahead of time to allow for the necessary protection to develop before traveling.

Travel tips for protecting children

Doctors emphasize the importance of taking necessary precautions to keep children protected and safe during holidays and travel. These steps are essential for a hassle-free and enjoyable vacation.

One of the key recommendations is to protect children from the sun by using sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing, and by avoiding excessive sun exposure. Staying hydrated, especially in hot climates, is crucial. Using insect repellents helps ward off bugs and reduces the risk of mosquito-borne diseases. Parents should also pay attention to food and water safety, opting for safe and well-cooked meals. Practicing good hygiene, such as regular hand washing, is a must.

It is important to pack necessary medications and a basic first aid kit in case of emergencies. Additionally, allowing children enough rest and sleep during the vacation is vital for their overall well-being.

Dr. Osama Elsayed Rezk Elassy advises parents to follow these guidelines to ensure their children's safety and well-being during holidays and travel.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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