Spain is named the food poisoning capital of the world
Why is food poisoning so often on the menu in sunny Spain?
As thousands prepare to jet off to Spain this summer, the country is revealed as the worst destination for holiday food poisoning. Here are some top tips to prevent you falling ill.
Sunny Spain evokes mouth-watering images of sangria, paella and tapas. But is food poising also on the menu this summer? A recent survey has suggested that the country is by far the worst destination for holiday food poisoning. The study, conducted by Slater and Gordon, questioned 2,000 holidaymakers in total and the results were surprising: 30% of participants said that Spain was the worst place for getting sick abroad, with Turkey coming second (15%) and Egypt in third place (13%). The problem doesn’t just end with these countries, though; a quarter of respondents said they had fallen ill with food poisoning whilst on holiday and over half said that they avoid foreign food for fear of becoming ill.
Food poisoning can ruin a holiday and, in rare cases, can prove very serious indeed. If you’re planning to head abroad this summer, what can you do to minimise your chances of falling ill?
If you’re concerned about the quality of water, especially in developing countries, be sure to use bottled water. Remember – ice in drinks or water from the bathroom tap can be equally as risky as a glass of poor quality water. Watch out for salads, too, as these could have been washed in contaminated water.
Use your common sense when eating out; if a restaurant or bar looks suspect, then it isn’t worth the risk. Don’t eat raw food unless you can peel it or shell it yourself, and check that food is always cooked through. TripAdvisor is a good way of gauging whether a particular restaurant is safe to eat at, especially in more exotic locations. A quick scroll through reviews should give you an indication of an establishment’s food hygiene.
Swimming pools that aren’t kept in a hygienic state can be just as risky as contaminated food or drink. Crytosporidiosis is a waterborne infection that can thrive in dirty water, so if a swimming pool looks poorly maintained then don’t go for a dip!
First Aid Kit
There are some things you can take on holiday with you in order to help prevent food poisoning. Antibacterial hand gel is cheap and easy to carry, and will ensure you’re free from germs all day long. Keep bottled water handy at all times, too, so you can keep safely hydrated without risking a suspect water supply. Should you be unlucky enough to fall victim to food poisoning, then rehydration tablets or diarrhoea tablets are handy to have in your suitcase. Plasters, painkillers and antihistamines are other first aid kit essentials! If you’re travelling within Europe, remember to carry your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will ensure that you can receive free medical treatment within the EU, so is essential in an emergency. It/s free to order one of these cards online. Store it with your passport so you never forget to take it with you!
The NHS offers ten top tips for avoiding food poisoning at home, and many of these could equally apply to holidaying too, especially if you are self-catering. Although the vast majority of trips are incident-free, it’s always best to be prepared – so, if you’re headed to the sun this summer, don’t forget your Spain travel insurance!
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