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Shigella is a bacterium that is generally contracted by holidaymakers who travel to the likes of Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Egypt. It’s transmitted through food or water that has been contaminated by bacteria spread by flies or other types of insects or by people who already have the bacteria.

Once a family member has contracted the disease, it’s very easily caught by the rest of the family because of the shared use of bathrooms, door handles and so on. The symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting and a high temperature and they can last anywhere between 1 day and two weeks.

If you’re heading somewhere that carries a risk of food poisoning, try these tips to avoid contracting the shigella bacterium:

  • Wash your hands regularly, and definitely before you eat. Children in your family need to understand the importance of good hygiene. You may want to stand over them to ensure that they actually do wash them adequately.
  • Avoid food that has been prepared using tap water – salads are notorious for being contaminated. In addition, make stocking up on bottled water one of the first things you do and use it for everything, including brushing your teeth.
  • Stick to foods that have been cooked thoroughly and never touch anything that has been allowed to cool, such as buffet food.
  • When selecting fruit, pick those that you can peel. It’s best if you peel them by yourself.
  • Be cautious of swimming pools and make sure that your children don’t drink any pool water.
  • Check any resort day care facilities for the use of tap water or play areas that involve water.

If you’re unlucky enough to fall ill, it’s difficult to diagnose shigella as it has the same kind of symptoms as other types of conditions that are prevalent in the same countries. To try and pinpoint your illness, try visiting Medicine Net or Kids Health online to learn more about shigella and how to treat it. If a young child suffers from any of the symptoms listed above, take good care over disposing of their nappies and disinfecting the area where you changed them. It may seem harsh but it’s important to keep any infected child away from other children in the group.

You should be assured that most cases of shigella are mild and people usually recover quickly of their own accord. However, bookmarking a few websites before you go on holiday should help you to decide what needs to be done if symptoms persist.

Shigella holiday illness suffered whilst overseas on your sunny holidays can ruin not only your holiday but your rest and relaxed mood when you return home to the UK.