When Sickness Strikes—To Stay or Go

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Our family has taken three trips to Walt Disney World and are planning a fourth trip for the fall of this year.  Before each trip we pray for good health, and we pack medicines for common ailments just in case.

The best piece of health advice I can give is to be prepared.  Make sure you carry headache medicine/fever reducer, stomach medicine, and band-aids with you at all times.  For children, the chewable or melt-away pain and fever reducers are handy to have on the go.  I keep a Ziploc bag with medicine in my fanny pack and keep a larger supply of medicine (just in case) in our hotel room.  If you forget something, there is a first-aid station in each park with common over-the-counter medications available.

Be careful before your trip and try to minimize your family’s exposure to sickness.  The week before our trip, I think twice about allowing my boys to play with a friend who has a bad cough or runny nose.

On our second visit to WDW, we spent one night on the road before arriving.  I tucked the boys into bed at the Comfort Inn and thirty minutes later, my six-year-old was in the bathroom vomiting.  We prayed that his sickness was nothing—hopefully just the excitement of the trip.  The next morning he seemed fine.  We made sure he ate bland foods that day, and he had no more problems.  Our prayers were answered, and we had a great trip!  From that experience, I learned don’t panic and pray.

Our third trip turned out to be more eventful in the sickness department.  On day 5 of our 8-day vacation, my younger son, then six, woke up with a high fever.  (What is it about being six?)  My husband and I were not sure what to do.  Should we take him to a walk-in clinic?  Should we keep him in bed all day?  It was the middle of our trip.  We weren’t ready to go home but wanted what was best for our boy.

We calmed ourselves down are started being systematic in trying to figure out what was wrong.  We started with a dose of Children’s Motrin.  We knew he was overly tired because we had gone long and hard our first days at WDW.  (As parents, we were kicking ourselves for allowing that to have happened.)  We reviewed what he had eaten—nothing unusual.  We questioned him about other symptoms and looked at his throat—nothing (but this is a good reason to always pack a flashlight).  We talked about one parent taking the older boy to the park and the other parent staying with the sick child.  However, our sick one begged and begged to be allowed to go.  We were going to his favorite park, Animal Kingdom, on that day.

After about an hour, his fever had reacted well to the medicine, and he still showed no other symptoms.  We looked up the phone number of the nearest clinic, packed up the children’s Motrin and Tylenol in order to alternate doses, and decided to drive to the park in case we needed to leave quickly.  Upon arrival at AK, we rented a wheel chair.  Our son was slightly embarrassed by this, but he knew he would tire out too quickly on his feet.  He was too tall to fit in a stroller, and the wheel chair was a less expensive rental.  Another bonus to the wheel chair was that his brother could ride with him whenever he became tired.  They could fit comfortably side by side.

We prayed and prayed for healing for him and wisdom for us.  As it turned out, our sick one ran a low fever most of the day.  We alternated his medicine every four to five hours.  Since his fever never increased and no other symptoms emerged, we did not take him to the doctor.  Thankfully, by the evening his fever was gone.  We ended up renting a wheel chair our next two days in the park because we didn’t want to tire out our six-year-old again.

It is hard to know what to do when someone becomes ill on vacation.  I am grateful to God that neither of our incidents turned out to be serious. With each experience we learned something.  I hope that no one in your party comes down with anything on your vacation, but if they do, maybe our experiences can help you.  Just remember to pray, pack medicine, pack a flashlight, don’t wear yourselves or your children out, look up a local walk-in clinic, rent a wheel chair, keep praying, but don’t panic.

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