Getting sick while traveling is sure to turn your vacation into a tailspin. It can lead to a ruined or shortened holiday, you can struggle to find the right healthcare, and when you are sick, there’s nothing worse than being away from your own home and all of its comforts. It is even worse when it’s your child with autism that gets sick. The time to make plans for what to do when your child with autism gets sick on vacation is before the trip happens so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
Tips for when your child with autism gets sick on vacation
Doctors and home comforts can be hard on a sick child, especially one with autism. Their little bodies feel bad and their sensory needs overwhelm them. If it’s a vacation that they’ve been looking forward to for a long time, you won’t want to cut it short, especially if they could be better before it’s due to end. You also don’t want them to have to suffer more so that you can continue your break. A new doctor along with the smells and sounds of the office can put a sick child with autism into a tailspin. You have to be prepared in advance.
Assess the Situation
It’s important to remember that not all illnesses are equal. There’s a huge difference between a cold and cough as opposed to a serious flu or a stomach bug. You know your child better than anyone else. You know how they cope with illness and what makes them feel better. Some kids have great immune systems and seem to carry on as normal even when they are struggling. Others, just want to stay in bed when they have even a mild cold. Factor in sensory issues for the type of issue as well as immune factors.
How bad are their symptoms? Is it likely to get worse? Is it something that they’ve had before? How long did it last? Assess the situation every day asking yourself if symptoms have worsened or improved. Lots of times our kids with autism will have high pain tolerances so it’s important to really ask questions. Take some time to delve deep into their world to see it as they do. Will a day or two hunkering down in the hotel letting their little bodies rest be the best idea to get better?
Assess Your Location
How you respond to their symptoms also depends on where you are. If you are quite close to home, the amenities might be similar. You may even be able to reach your own doctor or a pharmacy from the same chain you usually use. If you are further away, you can still use a telemedicine for kids service for help, but you might not be able to get the same medications or treatments. This is a great option for our kids with autism who will not want to see a new provider that is not familiar to them.
Keep Them Hydrated
This is especially important if you are traveling in a warmer climate. You might find that while your child is ill, they lose their appetite, but it’s essential that they drink. Ideally, as much water as you can and some orange juice for extra vitamin C. Staying hydated as well as increasing their vitamin C will also help them to beat the bug much sooner.
Give Them What They Want In Moderation
They’re ill. They can’t have as much fun as they’d like and they don’t want to eat or drink. So, give them what they want in moderation. Eating ice cream and drinking chocolate milk isn’t exactly healthy but a few treats that make them feel better and salvage some of the trip is worth it. Don’t go over the top here or you will have trouble reigning that in when you get home.
When you are on vacation, you want to be out and about doing as much as you can. But, your child might not enjoy this if they are feeling ill. They might also be contagious. Spend a few days in your room. Open the windows, stock up on treats, create some games and get plenty of rest. It’s better to lose a few days and have them back to normal sooner than to rush them to get out and make them feel worse. We have these days built into our itinerary to give Logan a break so we really aren’t losing all that much.
No vacation is worth sacrificing your relationship with your child. If your child is sick, take care of them first. Their health, safety and comfort ALWAYS come first.