Author: OnHolidayClaims

Been told to take down your review on Tripadvisor – What to Do?

Been told to take down your review on Tripadvisor – What to Do?

Here we offer guidance to people when faced with this situation.All too often we are approached by people that have placed a negative review on Tripadvisor and been told to take it down or else face legal action. The people making these threats are usually the owners or operators of the hotels that have faced negative comments.

A typical negative guest review on Tripadvisor may read as follows:

“I have recently returned from the Hotel Hopeless with my family of seven and it was one of the worst hotels I have ever stayed at. There were flies in the restaurant, massive queues for the hotel buffet, the food was served at lukewarm temperatures and on one occasion my chicken was raw in the middle. It is there hardly surprising that at we all came down with bouts of food poisoning or traveller’s diarrhoea which confined us to our hotel room. My advice to everyone is stay well away from the hotel – it is an absolute disgrace.”

A typical private response from the hotel or their representative may be on the lines:

“The comments that you have made about the hotel are slanderous and untrue. You have no evidence to show that the food poisoning came from the hotel or that you did not have it before you arrived. Unless you remove your negative comments, we will be instructing our lawyers to take legal action against you”.

The reality is that such a response is usually designed to threaten you into removing your comments – what they are trying to do is stop people being put off from travelling to their hotel.

Do I have to remove my Negative Comments from Tripadvisor?

The reality is that you should not have to remove your comments if your review is factually accurate. In the sample review above there is nothing wrong with the statements of facts such as saying that you were served with raw chicken if that is true. Likewise, the review states that they suffered from food poisoning or traveller’s diarrhoea which covers the reviewer if he could not be certain their gastric illness was caused by food poisoning.

Where our reviewer may be in a little bit of trouble is where he says the hotel is an “absolute disgrace” as this is personal opinion and more difficult to justify. For safety’s sake, our reviewer may be best advised to remove those comments in response to the hotel manager. When you submit your review, note Tripadvisor ask you to tick a certification box to confirm that your review is genuine.

Whatever you decide to write we advise you to make sure you make sure you read through Tripadvisor’s guidelines for traveller reviews and you are fully aware of their terms and conditions.

Legal Help with Tripadvisor Reviews

Simpson Millar are a UK law firm that specialise in helping people that have suffered from holiday food poisoning or accidents. If you have suffered food poisoning on holiday and are worried about a review you have put on Tripadvisor we suggest you contact one of our travel lawyers for a free telephone consultation to see how we may be able to help you.

If you want to warn customers that there is an illness outbreak at a hotel in Egypt for example, we can give you advice about what to put – we can even put a page up on our own website which we will carefully write.

We can also give you tips on how to claim compensation for holiday food poisoning and explain how we can help you if you wish to instruct us.

Resolve Your Holiday Complaints – We Tell You How

Resolve Your Holiday Complaints – We Tell You How

When To Seek Legal AdviceWith holidays on the rise and holiday makers looking for their next two week break, it’s likely that the travel market will be flooded with a number of complaints. So whether your dream holiday was far from what you thought because your needs were not met, your holiday or flights were cancelled or you were unable to enjoy your holiday because you suffered from an illness or accident, be aware that you do not have to brush it under the carpet assuming that these things ‘just happen’.

In the event a claim is made to your tour operator it is highly likely that your claim will be sat on for a few months or you will be offered a small gesture of goodwill, which will always fall short of your entitlement. In this case you can bring a claim directly in the Small Claims Court if you wish to deal with the claim yourself. Alternatively, consumers are advised to seek direct legal advice so that they can be informed of their rights and to also maximise the compensation sum payable to them. This is because it is possible to not only claim back a refund of your holiday but also any expenses and an award for the loss of enjoyment suffered.

You will only be able to recover your full holiday cost if it is a package holiday as you will be covered under The Package Travel Regulations 1992. These holidays usually include full services i.e. accommodation flight and other services sold as a package.

So What Should You Do?

  • Mitigate your losses – If a problem persists before or on your holiday you should bring any issues to the attention of the tour operator, airline, hotel supplier or your tour representative to allow them the opportunity to put it right. Also make sure you get a completed copy of your complaint form.
  • Obtain Contact Details of other holidaymakers experiencing the same problems – It can substantially increase the chances of your claim being successful if a group action is brought, so ensure contact details of other guests/friends are taken who will be willing to support your claim.
  • Keep a diary of events – Sometimes it is extremely difficult to remember all the problems that you encountered after returning from a disastrous holiday, as most people wish to put the experience behind them. However, a diary of events can help build the picture of what went wrong and what steps were taken, if any, to put it right.
  • Keep all your booking documentation and receipts of expenses – It is very helpful to keep a copy of your booking confirmation, invoices, terms and conditions to help quantify your claim and recover all your losses.
  • Take Photographs/Videos – Any evidence in support of your claim will be beneficial to your case as it will substantiate all the allegations you are making.
  • If you suffer an accident or illness visit the doctor on holiday and after you return – It is unlikely you will be able to pursue a claim for personal injuries where you have not sought medical advice or treatment.

So What Should You Not Do?

  • Do not agree to settle any amount of compensation directly from your tour operator without seeking independent legal advice – Many consumers fall into the trap of thinking that a few hundred pounds as compensation is sufficient as they may not otherwise recover anything. Although, this is a common tactic used to keep the customer reasonably happy without the tour operator having to suffer a loss by paying out a full refund.
  • Do not forward original photographs and/or videos as these may not be returned if your claim is not settled through a tour operator – Once photographs and videos are sent in, these become the receiver’s property which they can then rely on should a claim be forwarded through a legal representative. If photographs are sent without legal advice, you may be disclosing evidence that may work against you.
  • Do not agree to accept a part payment from your tour operator or hotel supplier and later seek to recover the remainder upon your return – When offers/part payments are made they are usually made in full and final settlement. Any offers made in full and final settlement means that you will not be able to recover anything further once you have accepted that payment.

If you have experienced a bad holiday you can contact our team of specialist lawyers at Simpson Millar Solicitors who are on hand to provide legal advice, inform you of your rights and guide you through your claim.

Help Me! – I’m ill on holiday and need help!

Help Me! – I’m ill on holiday and need help!

Now at this point the response you get from your tour operator may range from the extremely helpful to the downright terrifying. Here are some of the responses and reactions you might find from your Tour Operator.Falling ill in the UK is bad enough but when illness strikes whilst you are abroad on holiday the problems encountered can be many. Illness problems are often not the fault of the holidaymaker and in many cases are the fault of the hotel, resort and tour operator. Holidaymakers will naturally want answers and will turn to their tour operator representative for help.

The Bad

  • Flat out denial! There is no problem with illness at the hotel, on board the ship.
  • The Tour Operator representative is unavailable at the moment to deal with your complaint.
  • Confinement to your cabin on the ship or to your hotel room.
  • Intimidation and threats of violence from hotel owners and staff.
  • Statements that hospital treatment and stool samples have returned negative results.
  • The standard line that it “will all be sorted when you get back home”.

The Good

  • The Representative takes a thorough report detailing your holiday illness and complaint.
  • The management take immediate action to thoroughly clean the hotel or cruise ship.
  • The holidaymaker is provided with immediate and free access to medical treatment.
  • The matter is bought to a successful and satisfactory conclusion once the holidaymaker is back in the UK.

Help – Questions and Answers

  • I’ve fallen ill at my hotel and there are lots of other holidaymakers who are sick too – Help!

    • Seek medical attention immediately if self-medication does not work.
    • Collect the names and addresses of other holidaymakers who have fallen ill.
    • Take pictures, record video, keep a diary detailing the problems at the hotel/on the cruise ship.
    • Make a formal written complaint to the Tour Operator representative. NB. Take a copy!
  • I’ve received a flat-out denial from the hotel and Tour Operator that there are no problems with illness – Help!
    • Expect a denial, it’s the standard response to any illness outbreak
    • The Hotel and Tour Operator will go into ‘damage limitation’ mode as they will be acutely aware of the potential for litigation and negative press coverage.
    • Remember – Take pictures, record video, keep a diary detailing the problems at the hotel/on the cruise ship.
    • Talk to the other holidaymakers.
  • I’ve been told to stay in my Hotel room/Cruise cabin – Help!
    • The holiday contract Terms & Conditions may allow them to do this.
    • Hotels/Cruise ships carry out this practice to prevent the spread of the illness although;
    • Much to the annoyance of holidaymakers, they are told that there was an illness prior to their arrival.
    • Ensure that you make a full written complaint
  • I’ve had ‘free’ medical treatment and I’m unsure what they have given me – Help!
    • Beware! Who is footing the Bill for the treatment you have received? You or the Tour Operator?
    • If the Tour Operator is paying, question why?
    • The medical evidence could be used against you should you try to bring a holiday illness claim later on.
    • Ask what it is they are about to give you.
    • Tell the Doctor about any relevant medical history before he/she treats you.
    • Contact the UK for advice if you are really unsure about any treatment.
  • Stool Sample – shall I give one? What do I do with the result? – Help!
    • Be very wary about providing a sample.
    • What are they testing for? Ask the Doctor.
    • The test ‘result’ could be used against you should you try to bring a holiday illness claim later on.
    • Make sure you receive all the relevant test data and your sample.
    • The result is your evidence whether it is positive or negative.
  • My result is negative! Could I still make a holiday illness claim? – Help!
    • Yes you can.
    • Other holidaymakers were ill at the same time as you. You have their details and they can be witnesses to your claim.
    • You needed medical treatment and had a stool sample taken. That in itself is good evidence that you were ill.
    • Visit your GP on your return to the UK and request a further stool sample.
  • I felt threatened and intimidated when I made my complaint to the Hotel/Tour Operator – Help!
    • Try not to worry; the Hotel and Tour Operator are trying to prevent a large group litigation action.
    • Ensure that you have a full and detailed written complaint lodged with the Tour Operator representative. Remember to keep a copy.
    • Contact Simpson Millar Solicitors for free advice and guidance about making a holiday illness claim against your Tour Operator.

10 tips for drivers on holidays abroad

10 tips for drivers on holidays abroad

Here are 10 top tips to help you enjoy your driving holiday abroad:Injuries from road traffic accidents (RTAs) are now the main reason for personal injury claims in the UK – including drivers and passengers who have been injured in RTAs on holidays abroad.

  • Check the safety record of any car hire company you rent from BEFORE you sign the agreement
  • Book car hire with reputable companies wherever possible – even if this costs a little more than local car hire firms
  • Never accept a vehicle which looks unsafe or which you have a gut feeling about – if the car you booked is not available when you arrive to pick it up and a replacement looks poorly maintained, insist on being given the car you booked or another of the same standard and don’t be fobbed off
  • Make sure your insurance covers driving overseas – especially if you are not only driving cars but motorbikes, quad bikes and other vehicles which may be regarded as risky by insurers
  • Know the local highway code and road rules – and be very careful how you drive if you are used to driving in the UK and are not experienced at driving on the right side of the road, especially in poor lighting or weather conditions
  • Research your routes before you arrive in your holiday destination – using motoring apps to negotiate new routes, dangerous roads and any traffic snarl-ups or accidents along the way can help keep you safe
  • If you are tailgated by another vehicle or a vehicle flashes its lights or tries to make you pull over, think twice before you stop and wind down the window – thieves abroad are targeting motorists, so be wary of any tactics to make you stop, even in popular holiday destinations like Spain
  • Lock up valuables or take them with you – and never leave possessions visible in your holiday car or you might find the car and your valuables missing when you return
  • If you are involved in an accident abroad, do not try to drive away but wait by the vehicle – researching the various police procedures for RTAs in your holiday destination is a good idea before you depart
  • Be polite and calm to local police if you are involved in an RTA abroad – language barriers and shock can make drivers on holiday nervy, but stay calm and co-operate with any local officials if you are involved in an RTA on holiday abroad.

10 Tips for seeking medical help on holiday abroad

10 Tips for seeking medical help on holiday abroad

Here are 10 tips to help you get the medical help you may need on holiday abroad:It is every holidaymaker’s worst nightmare to be ill on holiday abroad – but being prepared can help you deal with all eventualities from mosquito bites to Spanish tummy and more serious incidents like a slip, trip or fall at your hotel or injuries from a road accident.

  1. If you are holidaying in the EU, make sure you apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) a month or so before you go. An EHIC entitles EU residents to the same medical treatment as locals – but any pre-existing conditions or health issues not covered by the local health service may be chargeable.
  2. Remember to take out adequate travel insurance – and if you have a pre-existing health condition or develop one (eg you become pregnant or develop a condition like a heart complaint or break a limb) in between taking out your travel policy and departure date, make sure you update the policy with your insurance company or you may not be covered
  3. The British consul is not legally obliged to pay for your medical treatment abroad if you have no money – and will not fund a medically assisted flight home either, so make sure your travel insurance all this
  4. Many hotels now have a resident doctor or pharmacist – make sure you tell them about any existing health conditions or medications you are taking (even health store treatments or recreational drugs) in case they adversely affect any prescribed medications
  5. NHS Choices is online, available via an app and on Facebook – and holidaymakers can post health queries online for live health advice, or check the NHS Choices online compendium of medical conditions for medical advice on holiday
  6. Use Tripadvisor before you book your holiday – and even just before departure – to make sure your chosen hotel does not have a record of holiday sickness and diarrhoea. If you discover there is an outbreak before you depart, you can request that the tour operator accommodate you elsewhere if you have booked a regulated package holiday which comes with an ATOL certificate
  7. Children, the elderly and those with immunodeficiency conditions such as HIV/AIDS or a recent bout of glandular fever may be more prone to illness on holiday – never leave illnesses which last for more than 24 hours or grow worse after 24 hours undiagnosed or untreated
  8. Be wary of self-medicating abroad – or of taking medications prescribed locally but which you are not sure about. Take the phone number of your GP surgery in the UK on holiday and speak to your own doctor or a nurse practitioner if you are in any doubt
  9. Always report illness at your hotel to your holiday representative – including holiday sickness and diarrhoea and any instance or poor food preparation or poor hygiene at your hotel, including undercooked meat or chicken or reheated or re-served food on a buffet
  10. If you are ill or injured on a package holiday through no fault of your own, you are protected under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations – contact a specialist holiday claims lawyer when you return home and ask about making a claim for holiday illness compensation against your tour operator.

Holiday sickness and diarrhoea – get a diagnosis

Holiday sickness and diarrhoea – get a diagnosis

However, bacterial infections such as salmonella can disappear only to return a few weeks later with symptoms which can be just as violent as the episodes you suffered on holiday.Many holidaymakers return to the UK having suffered from ill health on holiday and assume that their symptoms will clear up in time.

If holiday illness involving sickness and diarrhoea is severe and if you do not obtain a medical diagnosis, it is possible that the intestine will become inflamed and secondary infections or other conditions such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) will result.

This can involve not only having to take medication, but also experiencing long-term side effects such as stomach cramps, painful trapped wind, loose bowel motions, painful constipation, passing mucus and blood – or the uncomfortable feeling of desperately wanting to evacuate your bowels, when only mucus or wind is passed.

People who suffer from such symptoms over a period of time can experience rapid and worrying weight loss and even dehydration.

It can also be necessary to limit your diet – including avoiding high fibre foods and fruit or vegetables. “Pellet” foods like sweetcorn, peanuts or eating fruit with pips like tomatoes can result in especially painful episodes of IBS with long-term inflammation of the bowel.

Different infections causing holiday sickness and diarrhoea may require different antibiotics to clear the infection – and holidaymakers with depressed immune systems such as HIV/AIDS or cancer patients, children or the elderly – may be very badly affected by holiday sickness and diarrhoea, with dehydration potentially causing death if left undiagnosed and untreated.

In the UK, diagnosis of bacterial gastroenteritis such as salmonella, E.coli or campylobacter involves your GP sending a stool sample off for analysis at the Public Health Laboratory.

You can also contact the local council’s environmental health department if you have suffered from a stomach illness involving sickness and diarrhoea on holiday. You may be given a stool sample kit and an envelope for you to send the sample off yourself for analysis at the Public Health Laboratory.

Taking a stool sample

Collecting a stool sample involves using a clean plastic container – either from your doctor or the local environmental health department – and collecting a sample of faeces on a spatula is provided in the kit, or on a clean piece of toilet paper, which you then place in the jar and seal.

If you cannot get to the doctor straight away or have not got an envelope the local environmental health department, wash the container in hot soapy water (making sure the top does not let in water to spoil the stool sample) and dry it off. Place the container in a clean food bag or a small plastic food box – and store the sample in the fridge for safe keeping until you can take it to the doctor or send it off in the envelope provided.

The sooner you send your sample off, the easier it will be for the stool to be analysed. However, some bacteria like E.coli and parasites like cryptosporidium are particularly hardy and adaptable and can survive cold, freezing and hot temperatures – which is another reason why some can survive so well in the gut and you may need a course of a specific antibiotic to clear the infection.

After diagnosis

Once you have a diagnosis of the gastric infection you are suffering from, the correct antibiotics or course of treatment can be prescribed. You may also need to be monitored for a while by your GP if the symptoms of your holiday sickness and diarrhoea come and go or develop into another condition such as IBS.

If you became ill on a package holiday abroad through no fault of your own, it is possible that you may be able to make a claim for holiday illness compensation, too – so contact a specialist firm of holiday claims lawyers.

Can I Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning on Holiday?

Can I Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning on Holiday?

The short answer to this question is you can – if you can prove that your holiday company is at fault and the sickness bug came from the hotel.Have you suffered Illness on a package holiday and want to know whether you can claim compensation?

Each year Simpson Millar Solicitors help hundreds of people that have had their holidays ruined by food poisoning caused by salmonella, gastroenteritis, cryptosporidium and a host other nasty bugs.

The reason why we are able to help people is because there is good evidence to show that the tour operator did not do enough to ensure their hotels had adequate food hygiene procedures.

To find out whether you can claim and how much your food poisoning claim is worth we would advise you to call us for a free consultation.

Key Factors for Claiming Compensation for Food Poisoning

Key factors in determining whether you can claim are:

  • Whether or not you booked a package holiday – if you booked directly with the hotel, it is likely that you would have to sue in the country where your hotel is based as opposed to the UK.
  • The board basis – if your hotel offered “all-inclusive” food and drink and you did not eat outside the hotel, you should be able to show that your illness must have come from the hotel.
  • The duration of your illness – if you were ill for more than 3 days it is more likely that your holiday illness was food poisoning as opposed to a viral stomach bug.
  • Hygiene concerns at your hotel – if you noticed problems such as flies and birds in the restaurant; dirty unkempt waiters and food handling staff; and buffet food being left out for hours on end at room temperature – the chances are that your illness was caused by the hotel.

You do not necessarily have to have tested positive for an infection to determine whether you can claim compensation for a holiday ruined by illness. There are a number of factors to be taken into consideration when determining how much you can claim.

Who We Have Helped

For example, we recently helped a Mother and Daughter that suffered from a sickness bug in Turkey at the Garden of Sun Hotel. The holiday was booked on an all-inclusive board basis with Thomas Cook. They suffered sickness and diarrhoea and ended up being placed on a drip at a nearby hospital although no tests were ever done to determine the cause of the illness

Upon their return to the UK, they were offered £600 by Thomas Cook. Unhappy with their offer they contacted us to represent them and we were able to secure £3,000 in compensation for the mother and £2,500 for the daughter.

We were able to help them because they did not leave the hotel in advance of becoming ill and there a number of hygiene failures noticed by our clients that suggested that hotel staff could have prevented the illness.

10 Tips for choosing the right package holiday from a brochure

10 Tips for choosing the right package holiday from a brochure

Booking holidays is now so easy that it is tempting to book on the spur of the moment the minute you find a deal you like the look of.

But holiday brochures and Internet descriptions of resorts and hotels are designed to act as an inducement to buy – ie they are designed to convert your initial interest into a sale!

There are a few steps you can take when choosing a package holiday from a brochure or online tour operator to make sure your dream holiday does not turn out to be a nightmare.

  • If a holiday description seems too good to be true, compare resort and hotel descriptions with rival holiday brochures and sites like Tripadvisor, which features reviews and images from holidaymakers who have actually stayed at the resort or hotel
  • Make sure your holiday is a regulated package holiday and is ATOL protected – which will ensure that if anything goes wrong, you will have some legal protection under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations
  • If you are unsure about any of the details of the resort or hotel, travel agents carry a publication called the Gazetteer which lists all the relevant details of a resort or hotel – this is usually available at a high street travel agent and you can check what it says against any brochure or online description
  • There is nothing to stop you emailing or phoning a hotel abroad to check details even if you are intending to book through a package tour operator
  • If you are unsure about booking a brochure holiday, make a list of all the things you want from your holiday – eg Kids’ Club, beach location, peaceful or lively resort – and see how many of your wish list the holiday, resort and hotel fulfils
  • Do not be tempted to book a holiday just because it is cheap – you may be lucky, but gut instinct often plays a part, so take a deep breath before you commit and look at other holidays first
  • Reading the Booking Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) before you book is crucial – and you should also print these off in case you do hit a snag on your brochure holiday
  • When you book a holiday, all the different aspects of it such as transport, accommodations, any meals or excursions form part of a contract and if your holiday is protected with an ATOL certificate at the time of booking, this will protect all the components of your brochure package holiday if something goes wrong, so always book a regulated package with an ATOL certificate
  • Remember that all the holiday and hotel descriptions in a brochure or on a website also form part of the holiday contract, so if any aspect is not accurate or the holiday is changed, your package tour operator is legally responsible for supplying a holiday of the same or similar standard
  • Don’t forget to take the holiday brochure or website details with you on holiday – including the T&Cs and any helpline numbers.

Reporting holiday illness – what reps may tell you

Reporting holiday illness – what reps may tell you

The holiday rep is supposed to be the person you can turn to for help and information on holiday – but many holidaymakers find that when it comes to holiday illness at their hotel, holiday representatives can suddenly forget what they are supposed to be there for.

More and more holidaymakers are contracting serious gastrointestinal infections on package holidays run by major tour operators – and one of the reasons for this may be the rise in popularity of the all inclusive buffet.

All inclusive buffets are a breeding ground for cross contamination between serving utensils if food is infected with bacteria such as salmonella or E.coli.

Person-to-person contact round a crowded buffet in a busy dining room can also spread infections quicker than a Mexican wave.

But holiday food poisoning is easy to control with good food preparation, scrupulous hygiene practices and regular cleaning of the dining room area between guests.

Package tour operators now realise that an outbreak of holiday food poisoning at an hotel can leave them not only with salmonella-infected egg on their face – but also with a big compensation bill.

But don’t be fobbed off with a few words of comfort and no action from your rep. Here are some of the excuses holidaymakers with holiday food poisoning may hear from a holiday rep keen to get rid of them:

  • You must have had the illness before you came away on holiday –have you booked your excursions yet?
  • It’s just a ’24-hour’ bug – it’ll soon go.
  • It’s no real problem – it’s just your body adjusting to the change in climate and food.
  • There’s no-one else ill, so how can there be a problem at the hotel?
  • You must have picked up the bug outside the hotel – have you booked for the balloon flight yet?
  • It’s obviously a mysterious airborne virus – there’s nothing you can do about a virus, is there?
  • Oh, that – it’s change in the local bacteria. It’s found naturally in fresh food in these parts so you’ll soon get used to it
  • It must be too much sun or too much alcohol – you’ve been enjoying yourself too much, haven’t you? That’s what we like to see!
  • Have you been swimming in the sea? You mustn’t do that on a full stomach or when it’s too hot. Have you booked for the wine tasting trip yet?
  • Oh dear, maybe it’s other guests soiling the swimming pool and causing contamination. They come in from other hotels. I’ll tell the pool assistant. Hope you feel better soon. I’ve just got to book this couple in for an excursion later today. Bye.
  • I’ll just talk to you in a minute. Oh, is that the time? I’ve got to be somewhere else in five minutes. I expect you’ll feel better soon. The food’s very rich here. Bye.

A lot of holiday reps are very conscientious, but when you meet one who just won’t take your holiday food poisoning seriously, there’s only one thing to do – let it all out… write a letter of complaint to the tour operator and claim compensation.

To do this you will need to see your GP or a doctor in resort for a diagnosis and when you have the results – and salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter and cryptosporidium are some of the most common infections – contact Simpson Millar.

Holidaymakers who are ill through no fault of their own on package holidays are covered by the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. It helps if you make a note of any instances of poor hygiene, undercooked meat or chicken (take a photo) or other issues such as dirty tables and public loos or swimming pools at your hotel.

Also make a note of what your holiday rep said when you told her about your holiday food poisoning and keep copies of letters and emails – and when you first phone Simpson Millar our travel claims lawyers will offer you a free assessment of your case.

Holiday food poisoning is nothing to laugh about, but one case which did make Simpson Millar’s lawyers smile involved one hapless holiday rep who thought that Norovirus was actually called “Northern virus” – and sympathetically told guests affected that the virus had been brought in on a flight by “Northerners”.

It is probably one of the worst excuses for an outbreak of avoidable holiday illness at a package holiday hotel we have ever heard.

The holidaymaker’s guide to avoiding serious holiday illness

The holidaymaker’s guide to avoiding serious holiday illness

But more holidaymakers are having to make compensation claims for serious gastric infections contracted abroad – and often while on package holidays where there was an all inclusive buffet.We all have a holiday photo taken when we were smiling bravely through holiday illness – whether it was sunburn, mosquito bites, holiday food poisoning – or simply a bit of a hangover!

There are many different bacterial and parasitic infections which cause holiday sickness and diarrhoea – and often cross contamination in the hotel dining room or a contaminated swimming pool are the main sources.

Holiday gastrointestinal illness is easily avoided if food preparation and general hygiene standards are maintained – but if food is undercooked or reheated and reserved, or the hotel swimming pool is not properly disinfected with chlorine, then hotel guests can soon become very ill indeed.

Here are some of the more serious bacterial or parasitic infections and illnesses holidaymakers pick up on holiday:

  • Dengue fever – we all know that mosquito bites can cause malaria, but they can also cause an illness known as dengue fever, or breakbone fever. Those going on holiday to tropical and subtropical holiday destinations such as the Seychelles and resorts in Central America and South-East Asia are most at risk and symptoms of dengue fever naturally include fever, as well as severe headaches (with a feeling there is pain behind the eyes) and pain in joints. A bright rash usually follows five days after the fever – but the symptoms can take two weeks to develop so you may not be ill until your return home. Usually bed rest will cure dengue fever unless you have a chronic health issue already. But see your GP if you return from tropical climes with abnormal symptoms.
  • DVT – Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur in young healthy adults as well as older people and is the result of a blood clot usually in the leg. Sitting still for long periods or in a cramped space – such as on a long haul flight or in a car – can cause DVT and wearing flight socks and taking exercise on a flight can help prevent it. The symptoms of DVT may be pain followed by swelling and redness in the limb – and then breathlessness. Smokers and those taking the contraceptive Pill are thought to have an increased risk. Anticoagulants are used to dispel blood clots but it is important to seek medical help as soon as the symptoms arise, as blood clots are unpredictable and can travel quickly round the body and lodge in the lungs or brain, causing potentially fatal symptoms.
  • Giadiasis Lamblia – most holidaymakers know about holiday food poisoning infections like salmonella and E.coli, but Giardia Lamblia is not quite so well known, but causes symptoms which are just as distressing. The gastric illness Giardiasis is common in Africa, former Eastern Bloc countries and Turkey and is a parasitic infection which invades the intestines and multiplies there. Giardia infection is treated with antiprotozoal medication and the usually sources of infections are ice cubes, swimming in lakes and rivers, contaminated swimming pool water and contaminated drinking water. If you have a severe food poisoning infection on holiday, always seek a diagnosis – and the sooner the better.
  • Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A is an infection which can kill in some cases, so early diagnosis is essential. Contaminated food and water is the usual source and the infection causes extreme lethargy as well as yellowing eyes, bruised skin and jaundice, as the infection attacks the liver. If you are tanned or dark-skinned you may not notice jaundice, so if you return from Central and South America, Africa and Asia feeling strangely unwell, always seek a diagnosis. Hep A can also cause mental confusion and bleeding.
  • Lyme disease – Lyme disease is also known as tick-bite disease and can be contracted in the UK as well as abroad. The rash which results from the bite has a white centre with a red ring and is known as a bullseye rash. The symptoms can take more than a month to develop, so you may be bitten but not associate the rash with the tick bite. Other symptoms include muscle and joint pain, fever, headaches and fatigue – and if left untreated Lyme disease can result in nerve damage, arthritis and damage to your heart rhythm. For holidaymakers visiting more remote or rural areas, being aware of lyme disease is essential –always seek medical help, as you will need antibiotics to clear the infection.
  • Malaria – malaria is another mosquito-borne disease which kills millions of people across the globe and affects those in tropical or subtropical areas. Symptoms of malaria can take around a month to develop following a mosquito bite and sometimes mimic early-stage symptoms of flu. Be on the alert for fever, shivering, painful joints and vomiting if you have been bitten by a mosquito – and always seek medical help, as malaria is a killer and can result in anaemia, fits, fluid on the lungs, kidney failure and loss of consciousness. Even if you take anti-malaria medications, always see you doctor if you feel ill following a mosquito bite – and always keep taking the malaria medication for up to a month after you return home from a holiday in a malaria risk zone.