AN OLDHAM mum has been handed £2,700 in compensation after being struck down with crippling salmonella poisoning while on holiday.

Tracey Thomas lost half a stone in weight, spent a week in hospital and endured “eight weeks of agony” after the break in Hurghada, Egypt.

Tracey, 51, said: “The holiday promised so much but turned into an absolute nightmare.

“Perhaps I was just unlucky, but it was one of the worst experiences of my life – I was in agony.”

Tracey and a friend booked the all-inclusive trip with travel firm Red Sea Holidays and in September 2014 jetted from Manchester to Egypt in the hope of sun, sea and relaxation.

She had researched the Grand Resort hotel on the internet and was impressed. And at £400 each for flights and full accommodation, including meals, the pair had no hesitation in booking.

Tracey said: “The beach looked fabulous on the website and in real life it was gorgeous.

“The hotel was really nice too and all the people we met there were very polite and pleasant.

“Between the hotel, the beach and the shops, we had all that we needed – everything seemed perfect.”

But two days later Tracey remembers returning to the hotel to dine. She tucked into eggs and chicken but by about 8pm started to feel unwell.

She said: “I’m incredibly fussy about the food I eat. I remember eating chicken and eggs at the hotel, I didn’t eat anywhere else, so that’s the only place I could have contracted salmonella.

“On the Saturday I headed up to bed early. I told my friend that I needed to go to the toilet and that was when it all started.

“I got to the bedroom and I was sick straight away but obviously had no idea that it was salmonella.

“It was strange because we had taken every possible precaution, yet I was struck down with something.”

Soon after her first bout of sickness Tracey found herself lying on the floor outside the toilet, barely able to move.

“When my friend came upstairs a few hours later she told me that I looked terribly grey,” said Tracey. “I spent the next three days stuck in the bedroom unable to get out and enjoy the holiday.

“We were due to fly home on the Wednesday but by that morning I was very, very poorly and knew I needed proper help.”

It was then that hotel staff were called to the room, and they called an emergency taxi to take Tracey to hospital.

Although she had taken out medical cover for the trip, she said the hospital doctors told her they first had to check with her UK insurance company.

The time difference between the two countries meant she was kept waiting in a wheelchair for three hours until the firm’s office opened for business.

Tracey said: “The hospital staff finally put me on a drip, but they didn’t put any sick bowls near me – the only thing I had to be sick in was a carrier bag my friend had with her.

“I could barely move and had great difficulty getting to the toilet, and when I did there was no toilet paper.

“At one point the canula in my arm fell out and there was blood coming out of my arm and onto the floor.

“The nurse just bent over and put it back in without cleaning it. It wasn’t just the fact I was feeling ill because of something I’d probably eaten.

“Having Addison’s disease means that I am more susceptible to illness due to my immune system not working properly, I can’t fight off infections too well.”

Hours later, and against doctors’ advice, Tracey discharged herself and dashed by hospital taxi to the airport. She and her friend caught the flight with just seconds to spare.

Back in England she visited her GP, whose assessment left her stunned. Tracey claims she was told that she probably only had a bug that would soon pass.

When she didn’t improve, she returned a week later only to be given the same diagnosis.

She said: “She didn’t do any tests, even when I went back with the same symptoms. All she said was to drink water and not to eat anything – I’d already lost almost a stone.”

Unable to return to her part-time catering job, Tracey stayed at home and endured frequent vomiting and diarrhoea.

By mid-November, six weeks after returning from Egypt, she dialled the NHS advice line and described her symptoms to an operator.

A doctor was sent to her home and she was rushed into Royal Oldham Hospital.

Tracey says she was hooked up to a drip and kept in solitary confinement for three day until tests revealed the truth about her condition.

She said: “By this time, I was being hydrated and once I was diagnosed, I was also given antibiotics.

“I started to feel better pretty quickly and was discharged after a week. Three days later, I felt loads better, other than being tired.”

Soon afterwards she spotted adverts for Sick Holiday. Unsure whether to chase compensation for her ordeal, she was persuaded to do so by friends.

Tracey said: “I’m not really the kind of person to go after compensation – even though I had been very ill, I felt the only thing I’d really lost was a few days holiday.

“Having said that, my friend’s trip had also been spoiled by having to spend so much of her time caring for me and being by herself.

“I got in touch with Sick Holiday over the phone and they sorted everything for me. It was all done on the phone or via email, so it was all convenient.”

Now fully fit, she has since treated her friend to a holiday in Madeira from her compensation money as a ‘thank you’.

She said: “I’m pleased the compensation covered the cost of the holiday and a bit more, it allowed me to say a proper thank you to my friend.”

Richard Conroy, food scientist and founder of Sick Holiday, said: “We deal with around 9,000 claims each year, and many of these include people who have been struck down with gastro-bugs and suffer from violent vomiting and diarrhoea lasting days and in some cases weeks.

“Food poisoning can always be avoided and that is why it is important the highest food and hygiene standards are maintained.”

Red Sea Holidays has been contacted for comment.