With the school year winding down, many students are bracing for international vacations or a future working, living or studying abroad. Yet a recent study is suggesting that younger travelers are less likely to get pre-travel checkups, and thus more likely to suffer from mid-travel maladies.
The study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, followed more than 34,000 international travelers who sought medical care for travel-related injuries and illnesses. What researchers found was that children tended to suffer bouts of diarrhea, skin injuries, fevers, respiratory infections and other preventable conditions far more frequently than more mature travelers.
Researchers attributed these findings to the fact that only 49 percent of those children surveyed had sought pre-travel medical care.
"It is alarming that only approximately one-half of all children... in this study received pre-travel care," Dr. Stefan Hagmann, the study's lead author, wrote. "Access to competent preventive pre-travel health care for children should be improved."
The study recommends that travelers of all ages should undergo routine vaccinations and preventative antimalarials. Parents should also look into skin care tips and give children antibiotics to treat diarrhea and respiratory infections before embarking on an international excursion.