This summer, millions of Brits will head abroad for sun, sea and… sick buckets. A bout of food poisoning can ruin a holiday, not only for the sick person but also their travelling companions. On top of wasting hard-earned cash on a holiday spent in bed or the bathroom, if the bug is really serious holidaymakers can find themselves facing hefty hospital bills as well.
According to a recent survey by law firm Slater and Gordon, Spain, Turkey and Egypt are the worst culprits when it comes to cases of food poisoning abroad. One-third of those who had been sick abroad reported they spent most of their break in bed, with one in 20 being forced to cut their holiday short and head for home.
One in six of those who fell ill with a bug such as salmonella or campylobacter were admitted to hospital. These more serious illnesses can have lasting consequences and may even be fatal.
Nearly 40% of people surveyed said concern about local food hygiene was a factor in their holiday choice; and 43% said they opted for self-catering trips to reduce the potential risk.
5 top tips for avoiding food poisoning
Don’t get caught out! Follow Computerquote’s top tips on how to reduce the risk of getting food poisoning while you’re overseas…
1. Prepare your body
Those ‘beach body’ tips only talk about your outside, but the inside matters, too. If you boost your immune system before you travel with healthy food and probiotics such as live yoghurt, you’re less likely to be knocked out by a bug.
2. Drink bottled water
Bottled or sterilised water is best if you’re not sure about the local water supply. Tap water is not only for drinking: avoid washed salads, ice cubes and fruit drinks topped up with contaminated water.
3. Choose wisely
Don’t judge a restaurant by its menu alone. Check out online reviews, see how many people are eating inside, especially if locals take their children there to eat. It does not necessarily follow that when prices are higher, hygiene standards are too. Make sure you understand what you are ordering and keep receipts and take pictures in case you need to make a claim.
4. Avoid the riskiest foods
Poultry, fish and shellfish are more likely to cause illness than other dishes, so you might want to steer clear of these. Whatever you eat, opt for freshly cooked dishes rather than hotplate buffets. If there’s an open kitchen, you can check hygiene conditions for yourself.
5. If you do fall ill
Tell your travel rep as soon as you get sick. Make sure you stay hydrated with regular sips of water and take rehydration salts to help your body recover. It’s a good idea to pack some diarrhoea tablets just in case, although these can prevent your body from flushing out the bacteria.
Having travel insurance in place will give you peace of mind that if you do need medical treatment abroad, it won’t break the bank. Plus if your policy includes legal expenses cover, it will be easier to claim against your holiday company if they are at fault. Let the team at Computerquote spend time finding the best travel insurance cover for you, so you can get on with planning your trip.