Holiday Claims
Holiday Claims

Top tips for avoiding illness in the Dominican Republic

Holiday Accident Claims Manager Simon Lomax

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Dated: 5th August 2016

From the moment you leave the UK, you leave behind the security of the health and safety culture and laws that are in place to keep you safe, and by visiting a country like the Dominican Republic, which doesn't share these values, you might need to be extra vigilant, otherwise you could be putting your health at risk.

There are countless hazards that could cause your holiday to come to an abrupt end, and while many of these can be caused by food poisoning, other factors such as an unsafe water supply, poor public health controls and sanitation, diseases spread by birds and lizards could ruin your break in the Dominican Republic.

History of food poisoning in the Dominican Republic

Every year we handle numerous claims from holidaymakers returning from hotels in the Dominican Republic, having suffered from some form of food poisoning. Illness outbreaks were once so common that this Caribbean destination was nicknamed the 'Septic Isle' by the British media. Cases of Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Shigella were frequently reported in newspaper articles from disgruntled families unfortunate enough to experienced debilitating bouts of sickness, and while things have improved, we still receive many enquiries from sick holiday goers at the Dominican Republic.

Holiday Hotel Watch

Our sister site Holiday Hotel Watch has reported sickness at many Dominican Republic hotels, including the following:

What to do about diarrhoea in the Dom Rep

If you are reading this article from your hotel room in the Dominican Republic having suffered the symptoms of a gastric illness such as diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, it's advisable to seek out help from a medical professional. While most cases of travellers' diarrhoea are self-limiting and will resolve themselves within two or three days, if your condition does not improve, then you may need antibiotics if you're suffering a bacterial infection, or the appropriate medication.

In the rare instances where diarrhoea causes severe dehydration, it can become life threatening. Because of this is extremely important to ensure that you consume an adequate about of fluid, as doing so can be far more beneficial than taking antibiotics or anti-diarrhoeal medication. Severe illness is more common in children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems so it is important that their fluid intake is maintained to avoid dehydration. If you find blood in your stool or you are suffering from prolonged symptoms such as stomach cramps, fever and lethargy, it's vital to seek out medical help.

Tan and food poisoning warning

Advice on taking antibiotics

While antibiotics can help treat your illness if you're suffering from a bacterial infection, they can have some adverse side effects. In addition to being completely useless against diarrhoea causing viruses, one such side effect of antibiotics is that they can actuality cause diarrhoea.

If you visit the hotel doctor and are told that there is a virus going around the hotel and are treated with Metronidazole or Ciprofloxacin, you should be suspicious. While Metronidazole (or Flagyl) is an effective and safe drug which can be used in the treatment of suspected Amoebiasis and Giardiasis, and Ciprofloxacin is commonly used to treat Salmonella and E. coli, these are bacterial infections, which is the only type of illness that antibiotics can treat.

Claim under 'The Package Travel Regulations 1992'

If you have been ill in the Dominican Republic and suspect that you have suffered from food poisoning, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992 you may be able to claim compensation from your tour operator. However the onus is on you to prove that your condition was caused by the improper performance of your package holiday contract. There are various pieces of evidence that can be used to support the argument that your illness was caused by poor hygiene practices, and as part of our service to you we can help you to utilise these if we represent you.

We routinely and successfully pursue illness claims against the big tour operators, so call us now to receive a free no-obligation consultation on your claim if you have been ill while staying at a hotel in the Dominican Republic, and we can advise you on the best way to win your compensation.

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Don't let your tour operator get away with poor standards

If you claim for illness against your tour operator without help from a travel law specialist, they might argue that environmental factors such as arduous conditions, high temperatures and humidity caused your condition. They might also point to your own behaviour, suggesting that free from the restraints of your daily routine and determined to have a good time, you tried to get the most for your money and over indulged.

While this may be the case for a few holidaymakers, it is our experience that the legal teams of tour operators and negligent hoteliers use this as an excuse to refute your claim. If you have the evidence to support your illness claim, then our travel law team can help you to win your case and the compensation you're entitled to.

When taking the necessary steps to deal with your gastric illness abroad, you might find yourself at a disadvantage, possibly being too ill to speak with other guests or take the necessary steps to investigate the cause of your illness. It's important to be on your guard and not let your tour operator settle your claim for a fraction of its true value, as once you accept an offer of compensation you may be unable to revisit your claim.

Find Out More

British holidaymakers should not be given contaminated food whilst staying at all-inclusive hotels vetted by UK tour operators, so make sure that your tour operator knows this by contacting us to make a claim today.

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Contact us for free, no obligation holiday complaint advice

If you have been ill at a Dominican Republic hotel within the last 3 years, give our specialist travel lawyers a call on 0808 145 1353to see if you can win compensation for your ruined holiday to the Dominican Republic.