Our Discussions

Health concerns taking children under 5 to Iran
1 (a mother)

Hi, I have a 4 yr old and a 1 yr old, both girls. My husband is Iranian and I am American. He is taking a four week trip to Iran and we are discussing taking the 4 yr. old. I am hoping that someone can give me some advice about this. I have already called the health dept. and they say she needs a Hepatitis A and a malaria immunization. Another Iranian friend says the Doctors and Hospitals are good but medicine is of questionable quantity/quality. She also says to have her drink bottled water while there ( I did not know they had bottled water? ) I still do not feel comfortable with her going, probably because I have not been. I am just worried about her getting germs(viruses & bacteria) that she has not been exposed to before and getting a bad case of diarrhea or something like that, which in a 4 yr old is still a serious thing.

Have any of you done this and with what consequences? THANKS

2 (a mother)

I can understand your concerns my son was seven when he traveled to Iran and he did get sick. Bottled water is good also make sure milk is pasteurized. Be careful with fresh fruit, peel or better cook if possible. Take a supply of meds, children's Tylenol, pedialite or powdered Gatorade if they do get sick it helps to keep electrolytes in balance. I also sent the second time motion sickness medication I don't the dosage for four year olds. Take favorite snacks (my son liked certain dry cereal), the second trip we also took Ensure to supplement when the food did appeal to him. Our family tried hard to please him but sometimes when they are little they just want/need a little familiar comfort food. Try to avoid the times of heavy street traffic as the air makes is hard on their little lungs. Milk is good to help settle the stomach. I'm glad my son was able to visit he has made three trips to Iran and will be 16 this summer and is looking forward to going for his four time.

Best Regards,

3 (a madar)

Hi Mother # 1,

I am an Iranian and married to an American. I have a daughter who is 10. I have taken her to Iran when she was 3, and also when she was 6. She never got any virus or sick. She was fine. It is not necessary to make such big deal about it. Iran has good doctors and good hospitals. My parents live in Tehran. So, I hope I answered your question. Maybe your husband's relatives live in a village or little town. I have no idea where they are from. Just relax and don't make yourself feel miserable. Let your daughter go to Iran. Nothing is going to happen. It will be fine.

Take care,

4 (a madar)


I went to Iran last year before Christmas holidays with my then 4 year old daughter. First of all you are not alone. I am an Iranian myself and I too had some concerns about her health and mine as well. So, I did all the immunizations that the health dept. suggested. I packed all the medications that my kid and I were used to taking such as Tylenol, Benedryle, Dymatap (sepll?), Advil (for myself), and Pepto for diarrhea! When I got there, I did not use any bottle water and we were just fine. I tried not to eat out. I tried to wash her hands and face frequently specially in Tehran with all the pollution and all. Because we were not used to the pollution (we live in Florida), our throat were kind of scratchy most of the time. My daughter got a very mild diarrhea once which I don't think had to do with the environment. I think it more had to do with eating too much of everything. I watched her for couple of days and that was it, she got over it. There will be a lot of eating going on over there specially during the summer time!! One thing you need to remember is that Iran is not a war zone. It is just a different environment that our kids are not used to. Some people get sick quickly and some don't at all. The doctors are good, and as long as one takes his own medications, everything will be fine.

I wish you luck!

5 (a madar)


I took some pedialite powder with me to Iran . It Helped a lot because they have a better taste than Iran's . And my daughter was more familiar with that taste .

6 (a mother)

hi. i would like to say that no matter where you are going you must be extra careful no matter where you are going. I have a 4yr old and a 2yr old. Even going to various parts of Mexico, I am very cautious and I do not stay to long there when it comes to my children. My children are my gold, and I go with all the necessities that I can possibly can. I go where It is not to far away (places that are border to USA). I would never risk my children to visit places that they are not immune to (much less to a place you are not familiar with or even with you going by word of mouth). If it was me I would not risk or trust my children in a environment that is foreign to them, especially when it's in a far distance; no matter how much I know this place and how good medical treatment may be. But that is me and you are you and if you must take this trip, please prepare yourself in everyway possible.

The funny thing is, I am a nurse and knowing how unsafe it may be for children that are in the ages, such as ours is very risky. All I can say is good luck and be very careful, remember better safe than sorry!!!!!

I forgot to add that it just dosn't apply to children under 5!!! I also wanted to say I hope all goes well and please keep in touch and let me know how things went.

God Bless You!!!

7 (mother # 1)

I want to thank all of you for your responses to my concerns. I hope no one was offended by my questions, I would have the same health concerns going to any other country. In fact, I have to think about these things to some degree for my one year old, even to visit my own Mother who lives in a different state. I am still worried (because I won't be there) but you have encouraged me with your advice. The good thing about her going, besides seeing the family and being seen, is that her Farsi should be great after a month. I will make sure I send medicine with her and of course a long list for my patient husband. Thanks again and if anyone has any other tips about taking long journeys I would like to hear from you.

8 (a madar)

salaam Mother # 1,

my children have allergies. my son has had terrible allergic reactions in the past. though he is getting better now, you never know what will next trigger a reaction. So, I have been scared to take them so far. He is 4 now, and I planning to take them next year. I know I will take injection medication for such reactions.

one thing I have been concerned about with my children's allergy (and related sort of asthma) is the air pollution. I wonder if I should take masks for my children for the time we spend in Tehran. Have you thought about it or asked your doctor?

9 (mother # 1)

Madar #8, I wish you the best of luck, my kids seem to be fairly healthy, thank God, and I have nothing specific to deal with other than germs that they haven't already been exposed to. There was one post that talked about it being a problem if you needed specific medicines.....

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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