Travel expert offers holiday health advice

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Travel expert offers holiday health advice

18th April 2011

The death of two more tourists in the same region of Thailand has urged one travel expert to remind holidaymakers to take extra care whilst travelling abroad.

Katherine Allen, head of Travel and International Litigation at Fentons Solicitors LLP, was speaking after a British couple became the latest two people to die in the same area of Thailand this year after having reportedly ingested "toxic seaweed."

The mysterious deaths of up to seven tourists in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai this year have baffled the authorities. Thai police have speculatively cited "toxic seaweed" - bought at a local night market in the area - as the potential cause.

A British couple in their 70's, a 23-year-old New Zealander, and a Thai tour guide all died within 16 days in adjoining rooms at a three-star hotel in the area earlier this year. All four are believed to have died after suffering from food poisoning symptoms that may have led to fatal heart attacks. Three other tourists died in January in remarkably similar circumstances.

"These latest deaths highlight the harsh reality that cases of serious food poisoning may not always end merely with an upset stomach," said Katherine, a partner with the firm. "It is very important holidaymakers are aware of proper food hygiene knowledge and advice before they travel. Anyone who has ever suffered from food poisoning abroad knows how much of a negative impact it can have on one's holiday.

"We all like to try new things and experience everything a new unexplored culture has to offer," said Katherine. "But when it comes to unfamiliar food, it is perhaps prudent to first seek advice from hotels or locals before trying anything we may be unaccustomed to.

"In regard to water and food hygiene, there are a number of precautionary steps we would always advise holidaymakers to take," said Katherine. "Avoid ice in drinks and drink only boiled or bottled water if you are concerned with the safety of local tap water. Ensure that anything you eat has been thoroughly cooked, is served hot and hasn't just been kept waiting warm for any length of time. Avoid uncooked food unless you can peel or shell it yourself and exercise caution when eating fish and shellfish.

"It is equally important to ensure you are healthy before travelling and that any required vaccinations you may need are fully up-to-date," said Katherine. "In addition, we would advise tourists to seek medical advice and be aware of any health issues or travel warnings - highlighting specific illnesses or diseases that may be prevalent in the areas you plan to visit - prior to your departure."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to holiday accidents and illness. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more at: The Independent