Don’t Let Illness Ruin Your Holiday


The Law of…Managing Illness on Holiday

Having a holiday ruined by an unexpected illness can be a truly stressful and frustrating ordeal. It's important to know what to do if you catch a bug while abroad to minimise its impact on your holiday.

Alice Hellewell, Holiday Claims Paralegal, explains the steps to follow if you find yourself ill on holiday.

Should I Go To A Doctor?

It's important to understand as soon as possible what illness you have. While some illnesses are self-resolving, meaning they will run their course in due time, others may require medical attention. If your symptoms last longer than 24 hours or increase in severity, then you should visit the local GP at your resort.

The GP should be able to give you any treatments you need, whether that is a round of antibiotics, basic medications or simply just to put your mind at ease so that you can enjoy the remainder of your stay.

While your health is top priority, visiting the GP abroad can also benefit you from a legal standpoint. Receiving a diagnosis from a health care professional should also provide you with a name of the illness you have caught, and also tell you whether or not it is a pathogen.

Pathogens, which are bacterial microorganisms which cause disease, are a typical cause of diarrhoea and food poisoning.  

Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

Once the illness has already struck and a doctor has been consulted, all you should do is take steps to lessen the symptoms. While this may sound quite obvious, taking the time to reduce the severity of symptoms, especially where diarrhoea or stomach pain is concerned, will at least allow you to enjoy the remainder of your holiday.

To ease symptoms of stomach issues, it is advised that you:

  • Drink plenty of fluids – This is will help to combat dehydration brought on by diarrhoea
  • Use over the counter medications – Paracetamol can be used to alleviate the pain of stomach cramps or aches, just make sure to follow the recommended dosage guidelines.  Rehydrating sachets such as Dioralyte or the foreign equivalent can assist your body with replacing essential water and salts lost through the illness
  • Get plenty of rest – You're on holiday to relax, so sleep and avoid strain where you can
  • Try to eat – If you can, try to eat to keep your strength up. Small amounts of plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta or bread can help

Was It Something I Ate?

Some illnesses, such as Gastroenteritis, are spread through contaminated food. If you are suffering from this illness, or stomach problems in general, it could be worth cataloguing what you ate in relation to when you got ill. This could prevent you or your family consuming any more contaminated food.

If the food appeared and tasted fine, for instance chicken was fully cooked through and vegetables were fresh, then the issue could be with the way that the produce was cleaned or handled, bringing us to our next point.

There are still subtle ways that you can catch viral infections which you need to be wary about. In some countries, for instance, the tap water is not fit for consumption. If you order a drink with ice, make sure that it is not made with tap water as this could still make you unwell.

Likewise, if you order a cocktail with fruit in it, the fruit may have been washed in tap water or have been grown in contaminated conditions.

Were There Hygiene Issues?

Gastroenteritis can be caused contact with someone carrying the bacteria, so eating food that seems fine could be tainted if the person preparing it was carrying the bacteria. The most common example of this is a person not washing their hands before handling food.

Another thing to watch out for is winged insects. Flies can carry a host of diseases and if they are able to make contact with food it is likely to become tainted.

An additional hidden health risk is the swimming pool. Usually, it is simple enough to tell if a pool is clean at a glance, and most resorts will have a staff member skimming the pool each morning. If the correct chemicals aren’t applied to the pool to neutralise invisible pollutants such as sweat, urine, saliva and dead skin – not to mention sun cream or cosmetics – then you could also be at risk of getting an infection from the pool.

Alice comments:

“If your holiday was booked as part of an all-inclusive package deal, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992 you could be in a position to make a claim, provided the illness you suffered was caused by the resort or its conditions.”

If you've found yourself suffering from an unexpected illness on holiday, then you could have grounds for a holiday illness claim. Contact a member of our specialist holiday claims team on our freephone number today, or alternatively get in touch through our online enquiry form.

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