Did you know that 3,000 Brits a week require medical treatment due to illnesses caught abroad?
And that bugs caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites including salmonella, E. Coli, cyclospora (that’s an infection of the bowel) and campylobacter (which causes the runs) are all regularly contracted by holidaymakers?
It might be something we’d rather not think about, but according to travel litigation experts Hudgell Solicitors buffets, swimming pools and even the way in which plants are watered in some foreign counties are things to look out if you want to avoid holiday extras like tummy bugs and food poisoning.
So, what do we need to know if we want to be vigilant and avoid getting any holiday nasties? Travel litigation specialist Anne Thomson, from Hudgell Solicitors, reveals all!
5 simple steps to avoid illness on holiday
1. Be wary at the buffet
“The nature of hotel buffets means that they can be a breeding ground for bacteria such as salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli,” Anne warns. “Food often stays out for long periods of time so, if possible, try to avoid plates that look like they’ve been out there for a while. Double check that any meat or dairy products have been thoroughly cooked before you tuck in, and avoid eating in areas exposed to insects, flies or birds, which can be common in all-inclusive resorts.”
2. Don’t drink tap water
“Drink bottled water only and do not have any ice in your drinks unless you are certain that they are not made with tap water,” advises Anne. “And avoid raw fruits and vegetables you cannot peel as they may have been washed in contaminated water.”
3. Prioritise hand hygiene
“This is a crucial one,” says Anne. “With so many people staying in one place, you can’t always rely on other people’s hygiene to ensure you don’t fall ill. Prioritise your hand hygiene by washing before meals, after using toilets or touching door handles and lift buttons. We would always recommend taking a small bottle of anti-bacterial gel away with you to minimise your chances of picking up an unwanted illness.”
4. Don’t swallow the pool water
“Hotel swimming pools aren’t the cleanest places with so many people dipping in and out, and when illnesses strike, pools can be the cause of a wide outbreak,” Anne says. “Germs such as E. Coli O157, cryptosporidium and giardia (aka parasites, to you and me) can be contracted by swallowing pool water. Even pools which appear clear and clean may contain such pathogens as it takes time for the chlorine to do its job. So, when you’re going for a swim, try to avoid swallowing the water.”
5. Steer clear of the plants
“Plants often help hotel resorts look more aesthetically pleasing, however, some hotels are known to water them with sewage water,” reveals Anne. “This can have horrendous consequences if people come into contact with them – so steer clear!”
Are you off on holiday abroad this summer? I do hope these tips come in handy!