Before you travel with a baby or child, consult with your child’s pediatrician to determine the medications and supplements you’ll need while you’re away. Your child’s doctor can also check for health alerts in the areas where you’re traveling.
If your child has a health issue — or you’re traveling to a risky area — you need to take specialized medicine with you. In many cases, a standard pharmacy won’t have a specific drug or dosage form that’s suitable for your child. Your compounding pharmacy can help. Here’s what you should do.
Bring Support When Nursing a Little One
Breast milk is the best thing you can feed your nursing baby when traveling. Breast milk contains all of the nutrients your infant needs, plus it boosts immunity for your baby. Keep yourself healthy while traveling and nursing by bringing along any medicines or supplements you’re taking.
Check with the airlines to determine the amounts of medicines and creams you can tuck in your carry-on, especially if you have specially formulated lotions or creams. Your compounding pharmacist can make travel-size containers for you to hold the allowed carry-on amounts of specialized pills, ointments, and other topical treatments. Pack enough of your vitamins, supplements, and lotions in your checked luggage to carry you through your journey.
Support your health in risky areas by bringing along recovery medicines. In areas where water sources and local hygiene are questionable, you could become dehydrated and unable to nurse. Pack along oral rehydration solution (ORS) for yourself and all traveling companions in any country where you’re advised not to drink the local water.
ORS can be transported in a concentrated packet for travel, but it must be mixed with boiled-and-cooled water before drinking or giving to a dehydrated child. Some parents mix their own ORS concoctions before traveling, but this is not advised. The wrong concentration of salts and minerals can do more harm than good. Let a professional compounding pharmacy mix this treatment for you.
Pack Medicine for Prevention and Cure
Pack a supply of your child’s routine vitamins, supplements, and medications to last the duration of your trip. You’ll have difficulty in some areas finding qualified pharmacists and certain drugs.
Ask your compounding pharmacist to create safe over-the-counter formulations of sleep aids and soothing treatments for common children’s ailments. Bring along a small first aid kit with child doses of pain relievers and bandages.
If your child has an ear infection (acute otitis media, or AOM), the plane ride may be uncomfortable for your child. The change in air pressure makes some children feel pain inside their ear canals and jaws.
Doctors recommend that you wait several weeks after a child has AOM to allow them to fly by airplane. If you can’t reschedule the trip, ask your compounding pharmacist to make you age-appropriate, over-the-counter:
- Nasal sprays
- Pain relievers
These items can lessen the effects of air pressure changes if your pediatrician approves their use. Children with stuffy noses may also experience discomfort. The above treatments can help them feel better too.
The pain or discomfort usually happens most on takeoff and landing. The same phenomenon of air-pressure changes can cause pockets of air to form in children’s feeding and infusion tubes, so cap these off during takeoff and landing. Ask your pharmacy about how you can purchase extra sterile caps for your trip.
Be Cautious With Flight and Childhood Vascular Diseases
Air travel is generally safe for healthy children but risky for medically fragile children. Because there is a slight loss of oxygen in the cabin of airplanes, children with vascular issues should have medical support. If your doctor permits air travel for your child with a vascular issue, your compounding pharmacist can create low-molecular-weight heparin treatments for children at risk of developing problems during flight.
Your child’s pediatrician or specialist must prescribe this medication. Children who might need this treatment on a doctor’s advice include children who have the following conditions:
- Post-surgical within 6 weeks
- Previous thromboembolism
- Vascular malignancy
Depending on the drug type and recommended administration method, your compounding pharmacist can create easy-to administer alternatives to pills, shots, and bitter liquid medications. Alternative pediatric delivery methods include great-tasting:
- Freezer pops
- Gummy bears
If your child hates taking medicine, no matter the medical issue, these formulations make it easier for you and your child. You won’t lose as much medicine and time spent trying to coerce a noncompliant child to take what’s good for them.
Get Answers at Your Compounding Pharmacy
Some physicians do not prescribe compounded drugs for their pediatric patients because custom dosages and delivery methods are uncommon in many practices. Many drugs do not have options for gummy-bear or lollipop dosages, and you may have a harder time finding options if your child has a rare condition.
Compounded pediatric drugs are not randomly diluted to make them more palatable. The compounding pharmacist must follow precise formulas to ensure that dosages and delivery methods are effective and safe for your child. The formulas must account for the way drugs are metabolized, the precise weight of patients, and the desired effects.
If you need a referral to a practitioner who writes compounded prescriptions for babies and children, contact Potter’s House Apothecary, Inc. We prepare health and medical essentials for travelers of all ages.