Avoiding Stomach Bugs Abroad

8th August 2016

Helpful tips on avoiding stomach bugs whilst on holiday

Stomach bugs image by Mygate

Stomach bugs image by Mygate (via Shutterstock).

The Delhi Belly, the Holiday Tummy, or Montezuma’s Revenge; whatever they call it, they are the bane of some holidaymakers. There have been many terms to describe holiday-orientated stomach bugs. It has been a trope of many a 1970s sitcom script with one oft-heard precaution inspiring a situation comedy title.

Catching stomach bugs on your travels is no laughing matter. If you are travelling to any western European countries, Australia, or the USA, you should be alright. Towards eastern Europe, the likelihood of catching stomach bugs are more commonplace. Whether you’re travelling to Benidorm, Belize, or the Bahamas, it is best not to take any chances. In many cases, you can stop the curse of travellers’ diarrhoea by taking some precautions yourself. Firstly:

  • Avoid the buffet: it may look tempting, but the buffet lunch option in hot countries could mean a quick trip to the lavatory. The buffet is likely to have germs due to the conditions inside and outside.
  • Ditch the ice cubes: when ordering drinks, lay off the ice cubes. They are likely to be made from local water which could be a source of irritation.
  • Take no chances with the food: food could be a possible dilemma, especially if you are not sure about its origin. To be sure, either boil it, peel it, cook it, or forget it.
  • Please note that even the smartest of hotels can be affected by pests. Flies and rats do not discriminate.
  • Always wash your hands: not only with soap and water but also (where available) hand sanitizer. In public buildings, they may also be seen at entrances.

With food, avoid food that has:

  • Not been cooked thoroughly;
  • Been reheated incorrectly;
  • Not been stored at the right temperature;
  • Not been prepared hygienically;
  • Been left open to insects, birds, and vermin.

Bacterial triggers


A rare disease caused by meat not cooked properly. Can cause vomiting and weakness of facial muscles.


Found in the intestines of many types of animal and a common bacterial cause of diarrhoea.

Clostridium Difficile (C. diff.)

Attacks the lining of your intestines. Also causes a problem known as C.diff colitis. Symptoms likely to be diarrhoea, fever, stomach pain, a loss of appetite, and nausea.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Bacteria found in the large intestines. Likely symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.


A very common cause of stomach bugs and food poisoning. Can be found in unpasteurised milk and soil.


Passed on to humans via food and drink origin. Can only be killed by cooking food at high temperatures. Sometimes deadly, causing at best, diarrhoea, and cholera and typhus at worst.


Spread through water infected with salmonella and poor hygiene. Symptoms include stomach pains, a steady fever, headache, loss of appetite, and delirium.

If the worst happens…

Sometimes, the worst could happen, even if you took heed of the precautions detailed above. If you wish to claim for stomach bugs or similar food poisoning issues and you booked your holiday as a package you are covered by the 1992 Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations. A three year time limit applies for a claim under these regulations so you should not delay.

For further details, why not talk to our friendly team on 0333 006 4099, or fill in the quick response form at the bottom of this page. We shall respond to your queries as soon as possible with the strictest of confidence.

Personal Injury Overseas, 02 August 2016.

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