No matter how much planning and preparation you do before your trip, you can’t prevent your child from falling sick. Unfortunately, bugs and viruses are constantly working through the population and Murphy’s law determines your child is most likely to catch one just in time for your vacation.
Flying during winter is particularly risky because it’s cold and flu season. However, it’s also a time when many people fly to be with their loved ones over the holidays. So what can you do if your child falls ill just as you are due to fly? Do l need to postpone my flight, or can we fly with a sick child? Keep reading to find out.
Can I fly with a sick child or do l postpone my flight?
Yes, you can fly with a sick child, although certain illnesses might be more challenging to manage on a plane. For example, looking after a small child with a sickness bug will be no fun whatsoever on an aircraft.
You will need to consider your options and decide what’s right for your family. Some parents delay their flight by a few days so their child can recover before the journey. However, some parents postpone their flight, because flying with a sick child is not for the faint-hearted.
Is it OK to fly with a sick child?
This is a tricky question and something you will need to answer for yourself. First, however, it’s essential to consider your child and whether he’d be better recovering at home for a day or two rather than enduring a flight while feeling rubbish.
It’s also important, however, to consider the other passengers. If your child is contagious, he might cause other passengers to fall ill. If you decide to travel, take sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer to try to contain your child’s germs.
Can flying with a cold make it worse?
Flying when experiencing cold symptoms can make you feel worse, especially during takeoff and landing. The change in air pressure in the cabin can also be uncomfortable if you feel congested. However, it is usually safe to fly with a mild cold.
Many kids seem to carry on as normal with a cold; others might be more affected. You’ll need to make your decision after considering how your child appears in general.
What to do if a child gets sick prior to the trip?
If your child has fallen sick shortly before your flight, what you need to do will depend upon the symptoms. However, you will probably have a gut feeling about the right course of action.
Firstly, it is always worth getting medical advice for an unwell child before embarking on a long journey. Your pediatrician is best placed to offer medical advice about your child’s condition, so it’s worth popping down to your doctor’s office.
Can a baby fly with a fever?
The expert advice is that babies should not fly with a fever. Airlines want to keep people safe, and sometimes prevent unwell passengers from boarding.
A sick baby can deteriorate rapidly, so if your baby doesn’t seem like his normal self and has a high fever, you should delay flying until he’s feeling better. If your sick baby gets worse during the flight, he won’t necessarily be able to get medical help, which is why it’s safer not to fly.
Can a child fly with an ear infection?
If the ear infection was diagnosed less than 48 hours before the flight, it is best to postpone your flight until the infection has cleared. Ear infections can be particularly painful during takeoff and landing because of the cabin’s air pressure changes. An ear infection can also cause ear pressure and pus to build up behind your child’s eardrum, so flying can be uncomfortable.
If you do fly, your child will probably be in a lot of pain and feel pretty miserable. If your child’s ears are hurting, it’s worth speaking to your child’s doctor to see what can be recommended.
Ear infections usually clear up quickly with treatment, so your child should be fine to fly within 48-72 hours after beginning treatment. If you fly before the ear infection is fully cleared, pain medication might help your child to cope with any discomfort.
Can a child fly with a common cold?
Yes, it should be fine for your child to fly with a common cold as long as he isn’t having problems with his ears. Toddlers and young children have perpetually runny noses, and most carry on without any problems. So assuming your child seems fine in general, he should be absolutely fine to fly.
Can a child fly with chicken pox?
Chickenpox is highly contagious and can be very serious for some people. If caught in early pregnancy, chicken pox can cause birth defects. Chickenpox can be also severe for those with compromised immune systems.
Most airlines ask you to postpone your flight if somebody in your party has chickenpox. If the airline advises you to postpone, you will need to contact your travel insurance provider for help. You are OK to fly once the final spot has scabbed over but, until then, you are considered too contagious to fly. It is always best to consult your doctor to find out when is it safe to fly after having chickenpox.
Can a child fly with a stomach bug?
Technically, there are no restrictions on traveling with a stomach bug, although you will probably have a better time at home. Young children are likely to throw up without much warning, and your fellow passengers won’t thank you when your plane section is covered in vomit.
Likewise, a child who needs to get to the bathroom quickly might struggle on an airplane where people queue for the toilet and it can become a pretty stressful situation for everyone.
What to do if the child gets sick on the plane
Unfortunately, sometimes people fall sick during air travel. Therefore, it’s important to pack items that will help you, just in case your child falls ill on the plane. Young children can become poorly quite quickly, so you should carry pain medication, just in case, even when traveling with a healthy child. A spare change of clothes is also a must-have and will be helpful if your child falls sick on the flight.
Can you fly if you are sick with Covid?
In simple terms, you should not fly if you are sick with Covid. You must ring your airline for advice if you test positive before your flight. If your child is suffering from Covid, you will need to delay your flight until he is no longer contagious.
For further information about flying requirements with Covid, seek information from your government regulatory body on international or domestic travel.
How do you travel with a sick child?
If you have decided to travel with a sick child, then you must plan accordingly. You must take medicine on board if your child requires some during the flight. Pain relief medication can also help to bring your child’s fever down, so it’s essential to carry this on board.
You must consider ways to keep your child comfortable during the flight. For example, if your child is sleepier than usual, you might want to take a blanket or cushion so he can rest comfortably. Likewise, if he’s suffering from a sensitive tummy, you should take foods you know he can handle and plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Having some chewing gum, a sippy cup or something to suck on while taking off and landing will help to ease the pressure in the ears.
Pack a change of clothes for both of you, just in case. And make sure you have plenty of tissues and wipes to hand. It’s also worth taking toys and books to distract your child, as distraction can help when your child suffers from a mild sickness. A movie downloaded onto a tablet can also be an easy way to pass the time with a sick kid during a flight.
Can an airline stop you from flying if you are sick?
Yes, airlines reserve the right to refuse to board passengers who seem very unwell. Airlines might refuse to let passengers boarded they are at risk of requiring assistance for a medical emergency while on board. However, they are unlikely to stop you from boarding if you are suffering from a common illness, such as a cold or other minor illnesses. It is always best to double-check the airline policies.
After all the planning, it’s easy to lose hope when your child falls sick just as you are about to leave. However, children recover spectacularly quickly, so don’t waste time worrying that your little one’s sickness will ruin your holiday. Chances are, your child will be right as rain in a couple of days, and you’ll get to enjoy the family vacation you deserve.