Some 170 people are suing a travel company after their luxury holiday turned into a nightmare because of a stomach bug, on the Egyptian Riviera. Guests began to fall ill within days of checking in to the five star hotel on the Egyptian Riviera, with vomiting and diarrhoea lasting days. And this is far from the first time tales of a holiday turned hideous have hit the headlines. The Queen Victoria, the luxury cruise liner launched by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in 2007, had 80 passengers felled by a stomach bug on one of its early voyages.

The holiday season is just getting into its stride, but densely populated holiday populations such as those found on cruise ships or at resort hotels are particularly vulnerable to a rogue bug spreading like wildfire. So is there anything you can do to make sure your holiday highlights don’t include a visit to the local A and E?

As with all illnesses, the first line of defence is prevention. And this begins with washing your hands – a lot. As Pocket Issue Pandemics, which deals with everything from Bird flu to MRSA, advises ‘Think Lady Macbeth. Wash your hands a lot and especially before eating’. Other Pocket Issue advice includes carrying a handkerchief or tissue at all times and sneezing into it; if everyone did this, a primary source of germs transmission would be foiled; and look after skin wounds, however small they may seem. It’s important to keep them clean.

With stomach related troubles being one of the most common mishaps abroad, usually from contact with contaminated food or water, there are a number of sensible dietary precautions travellers can take. A look at the Department of Health website will give comprehensive travel advice, including the following: Drink bottled or boiled water if the tap water is not safe; Don’t have ice in your drink unless you know it is made from treated water; Make sure food is fresh and thoroughly cooked; avoid uncooked food; avoid food that has been exposed to flies and avoid ice cream from unreliable sources.

Holiday diar-y