Warning to holidaymakers: Don't underestimate post-holiday effects of holiday illness!

HolidayTravelWatch receives many calls from holidaymakers where they tell us about their experience of illness at their holiday hotel. For many, the illness is but a part of their bad holiday and they often tell of the many other problems at their hotel or resort, which they often describe as their 'Holiday from Hell'.

The common mistake for many holidaymakers is that once they have returned to the UK, they will often dismiss any other residual ill-health effects, simply wanting to put their holiday experience behind them; who could blame them?

However, whilst holiday sickness is often treated as a joke or something minor, our 20 year experience of speaking with Consumers, often reveals the truth about returning holiday illness.

We have dealt with holidaymakers who have been laid low with sickness to the point of being unemployable; some holidaymakers have been admitted to hospital for many weeks after their return!

For the majority of holidaymakers, their sick holiday produces an ill-health effect from anywhere between 4 weeks to 10/12 months after the holiday and it can often leave them with food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome.

Take one case as an example: Mr X recently advised us that his partner had become ill whilst on holiday in Morocco. They had some minor complaints about the hotel and some concerns over food quality. They carried on as best they could with their holiday and on return to the UK she continued suffering with sickness and diarrhoea. Following a hospital admission, she was diagnosed with Campylobacter; 8 weeks on from the end of her holiday, she still has Camplyobacter in her system and has been confirmed to have developed a lactose intolerance; happily she is receiving treatment for her illness.

These holidaymakers are to be congratulated for seeking early medical treatment and diagnosis; many holidaymakers returning to the UK do not and potentially go on to cross-infect further family members, work colleagues or members of the public with what they may have picked up on holiday.

If you are feeling sick when you return from holiday, you should follow these 4 simple rules:

  1. Speak to your GP or Local Environmental Health Officer;
  2. Obtain a stool sample test;
  3. Keep a diary recording your symtoms and illness, and
  4. Whether the test is negative or positive, seek guidance on how you can deal with your complaints.

Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:

"Returning with sickness from holiday and not confronting the obvious health problems when back in the UK is probably one of the most common failures of UK Consumers. Irrespective of any legitimate complaint you may have, health should always come first; if you protect it, then you protect your employability and your own social and family life. If you do nothing else, then follow the example of Mr X and his partner and seek medical assistance".

Tags: Holiday Illness Morocco Stool Sample Test GP Environmental Health Campylobacter Food Intolerance Lactose Intolerance