Travelling abroad provides us with lots of happy memories as we relax and unwind in an environment far away from the stresses of home life.
But suffering from illness abroad can spoil these memories and provide a sobering reminder of how much easier it can be to access health care in your home country.
If you pick up an illness abroad because of the negligence of a service provider – for instance, a hotel or package tour operator – you might be able to claim compensation.
No win no fee solicitors Claims Direct can help advise you about compensation claims relating to illnesses abroad.
Food poisoning caused by poor cleanliness, food or water can give grounds for compensation.
Michelle and Seb Edim of Sheffield know all about how food poisoning can ruin a foreign holiday.
The couple are making a personal injury compensation claim against tour operator Thomas Cook, after one-year-old daughter Daisy suffered food poisoning at the hotel they were staying at in Antalya in Turkey.
Mrs Edim told local news source The Star that the hotel had an “utter disregard for basic health and safety standards”.
She said: “Food was left uncovered and served lukewarm… fresh food was placed on top of stale remnants.”
Daisy’s illness lasted five weeks, at the end of which, she was seriously underweight.
So, what precautions can you take to ensure that you can guard against the threat of food poisoning before you embark on foreign adventures? The points listed below are always worth considering.
•Travel insurance - your travel insurance documents should be the first thing you pack – put them in your hand luggage so they won’t get lost. Make sure that you find out the extent of your cover as this insurance could be a life-saver if you are in a country which does not have a free health service.
•Take your shots – tell your GP which country you are visiting and they can tell you which vaccinations and innoculations will protect you against diseases which are present in the area. Avoid customs disputes by checking out whether the medication you take with you is legal in the country where you are headed for. Take the prescription and, if possible, a doctor’s letter with any prescribed medication.
• If travelling in Europe, make sure that you have an up-to-date European Health Insurance Card; this should cover basic hospital bills in many European countries – it will need renewing every five years.
•Check your temperature - a reading of above 38° means you have a fever and the temperature will need to be checked every three hours. If the fever persists then it’s time to seek the advice of a doctor.
•Avoid the language barrier - try to get a nurse or a doctor who can communicate with you in a language you know. The British Embassy or Consulate can help you if you struggle to do this.
•Think about which country to go to – in 2009, travel site skyscanner.net published a place of the ten best places to fall ill abroad based on factors such as the quality of the private health care system available and the length of waiting lists.
France topped the list as the World Health Organisation rated the French healthcare system as being the best in the world. Italy was second and neighbouring San Marino was third.
The other countries that made the list were: 4. Andorra. 5. Malta. 6. Singapore. 7. Spain. 8. Oman. 9. Japan. 10. Austria.
But please don’t exclude countries which didn’t make this list from your holiday plans. A little foresight should make most countries safe and enjoyable places to holiday in!