The summer holidays are upon us and in order to help families heading out for all-inclusive holidays abroad, we have been looking at some of the common illnesses that strike many each year, and offering some simple tips that may help people avoid them.

Today we are focussing on Travellers’ Diarrhoea – a severe and sudden onset diarrhoea associated with foreign travel.

A person suffering from Travellers’ Diarhoea will pass three or more loose stools or watery bowel movements within a 24-hour period and also experience abdominal pain or cramps.

In 80% to 90% of cases of Travellers’ Diarrhoea is caused by bacterial pathogens such as E.coli, Salmonella and Shigella.

Viruses like norovirus and protozoan pathogens such as Giardia lamblia, Cyclospora and Cryptosporidium can also cause Travellers’ Diarrhoea.

In most cases, Traveller’s Diarrhoea is unpleasant rather than serious – but its symptoms can still be significant enough to ruin a much-anticipated holiday.

If you suffer from Travellers’ Diarrhoea whilst on an all-inclusive holiday or cruise, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

HOW DO YOU GET TRAVELLERS?

Whilst it is possible that the stress of travelling and a change in diet can cause Traveller’s Diarrhoea, it is important to note that digesting food containing a bacterial pathogen is to blame in most cases.

Food in all-inclusive holiday hotels may become infected with various bacteria, viruses and parasites if poor food handling hygiene practices are in place.

Poor sanitation standards can also be to blame, as this may result in infected human waste contaminating the water supply.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Sudden onset of severe watery diarrhoea
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • High temperature
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST AND HOW IS IT TREATED?

For mild or moderate cases, symptoms usually last for 3 to 5 days and specific medical treatment is not needed.  Symptoms can, however, last for up to 14 days and beyond.

During this time, it’s important to prevent dehydration, especially in young children. Regularly sipping clear fluids like water or diluted fruit juice can help. Oral rehydration salts may also relieve symptoms and can be bought over the counter from a pharmacy

For more serious cases, where more than six diarrhoea stools are passed within 24 hours or blood is present, medical treatment may be required.

An intravenous drip might be used to prevent dehydration. Depending on the cause, antibiotics might be used to fight bacteria and symptoms should reduce in one or two days.

Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, we would advise seeking medical treatment to prevent the bacteria from spreading – especially if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition which may worsen due to dehydration or severe infection.

TIPS TO AVOID IT…

  • Prioritise hand hygiene – always wash hands with hot, soapy water before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Avoid foods served at room temperature – steaming hot foods are the safest.
  • Stay clear of raw or undercooked meat, fish and shellfish.
  • Avoid foods exposed to insects, flies or birds – common in all-inclusive resorts.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables you cannot peel as they may have been washed in contaminated water
  • Never eat food from street vendors.
  • Only drink bottled water – and brush your teeth with it.
  • Don’t have ice in drinks unless you are 100% sure it is not made with tap water.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand gel regularly.

COULD YOU MAKE A TRAVELLER’S DIARRHOEA COMPENSATION CLAIM?

Traveller’s Diarrhoea is a diagnosis that’s often given when the actual pathogen is unknown. But, according to research, around 80-90% of the Travellers’ Diarrhoea cases we deal with are caused by bacterial infections.

You may be entitled to make a claim if you booked your holiday as a package deal and only ate food at the hotel, or on the cruise ship, before becoming ill.

As part of the legal process we will ask if you received medical attention whilst abroad or after returning home, and whether you reported your illness to the tour operator.

Every claim is conducted on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis – so you won’t be left out of pocket if your case is unsuccessful.

OUR ADVICE

There’s a lot of reluctance when it comes to contacting a solicitor about a holiday illness claim because of the negative press surrounding this issue.

However, at Hudgell Solicitors, we have supported many people to make fully justified and successful claims when illness has been caused be the fault of others, and we recognise the significant impact an illness abroad can have.

If you’ve become ill whilst on an all-inclusive holiday or cruise, get in touch and one of our travel claims team will carefully consider the strength of your case and advise you free of charge.

We could help you claim compensation for your pain and suffering (ie the illness you suffered), the lost days of your holiday, your loss of holiday enjoyment and any financial losses you may have incurred as a result of your illness.