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Holiday Illness – buffets, bathrooms and bad ice cubes all to blame!

Save My Holiday on BBC1 each morning is really opening eyes to the downside of booking all-inclusive holidays in favourite holiday hotspots like Turkey, Crete, Egypt and the Dominican Republic.

Every episode so far has shown examples of shoddy hotel standards, appalling food and terrible hygiene in bar areas and bathroom cleanliness.

Booking an all-inclusive holiday can seem like a bargain – that is, if you want to pay to be ill on holiday! Each episode of Save My Holiday features the dangers of food poisoning and other illnesses associated with all-inclusive holidays, so let’s start with the bedrooms.

Many all-inclusive hotels have the worst standards of cleanliness and it’s vital that you check your bathroom above all. If you have a self-catering room, then you must check the fridge and cooking area as well. The latest Save My Holiday found a fridge contaminated with bacteria thirty eight times the acceptable safe level.

In the bathroom look closely at the shower head to see if it is clean, and check the hot water temperature of the shower and the taps. The water needs to be hot to kill the Legionella bacteria which can lead to the lung illness Legionnaires disease. In 2009, 345 people in the UK died of Legionnaires disease – and half of those cases were contracted abroad.

Legionella grows in the warm water tanks of large establishments like hotels and if it’s present you’re likely to breath it in whilst taking a shower. 10% of people who contract Legionnaires disease die from it. If your hotel water runs brown or tepid, you are at risk. Speak to the hotel management immediately. Also, ensure that taps and toilet flushes are properly cleaned – the major touch points for passing on holiday illness; advice is to take your own anti-bacterial wipes and use them liberally!

On to the bar – it’s so tempting to have a long, iced drink to cool down in the holiday heat. But Save My Holiday has been testing the bacteria levels of ice used in drinks and found it to be frighteningly contaminated, often by being manually handled by bar staff as it’s placed in the glass. Glasses too have come under scrutiny – many are not washed thoroughly and the programme recommends that you look out for a glass-wash machine behind a bar before ordering your drinks. If you’re unsure of hygiene standards, order a bottled drink or drink through a straw – remember, no ice!

And so to the all-inclusive buffet – every Save My Holiday holidaymakers’ nightmare so far. The food on offer is dismal to begin with – sad and soggy pasta, poorly cooked meats like chicken and hot dog sausages, other dishes that can’t even be identified. Nothing fresh. Nothing local. But all recycled, day after day – leftovers being left out in the open and served up time and again until they’re used up. Hardly food hygiene at its best.

So where’s the surprise that holidaymakers are coming down with salmonella, e-coli, campylobacter and norovirus as a result of eating all-inclusive holiday buffet food? People featured on Save My Holiday have spent their entire time away ill with food poisoning caught from buffet food – including on expensive Mediterranean cruises and Dominican Republic luxury holidays to all-inclusive ‘cheap deal’ breaks in Med holiday hotspots.

Getting food poisoning on holiday has a real effect not just on your health for a few days but on your enjoyment of the holiday you paid for. Many people featured on Save My Holiday lost days of their holiday due to food poisoning.

If you are taken ill on holiday with salmonella, e-coli, campylobacter or norovirus, try to see a qualified doctor for a proper diagnosis whilst you’re away. Keep all the evidence you can – photos or video of poor buffet food, dirty bars or filthy bathrooms will all help you to claim compensation for being ill on holiday. If you feel that you cannot eat in your all-inclusive hotel due to the appalling standards of food and instead you eat away from the hotel, keep all restaurant receipts.

If you have paid good money for an all-inclusive holiday you should expect to get the high standards you deserve. If you are made ill on an all-inclusive holiday by food or drinks contaminated with salmonella, e-coli, campylobacter or norovirus you can claim compensation from your Tour Operator.

When on an all-inclusive holiday, take every precaution to protect yourself from holiday illness – but if the worst happens, gather all the evidence you can including complaining as much as possible, and when you’re home contact a Holiday Claims solicitor asap to start your Holiday Illness Compensation Claim.

Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or drop us a line using the form above.

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Dated: 14/02/2011

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