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Expat Investor : July August 2007
HEALTHCARE expatinvestor.com 18 EXPAT INVESTOR July/August 2007 The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that annually there are around 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A worldwide, costing the world's economy up to US$3bn. More common in developing countries, Hepatitis A is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind. High risk areas are places where sanitary conditions are poor; including parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, Central America, South America and Africa. Hepatitis A is contagious, meaning that it can be passed from one person to another -- most commonly by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. This can happen when an infected person does not wash their hands properly whilst preparing food for others. It can also be found in shellfish that have been contaminated by sewage and occasionally is spread through blood. Symptoms of the disease can be similar to severe flu and include headache, fever, tiredness, aching limbs, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and diarrhoea. If you're diagnosed with Hepatitis A, your doctor will generally advise you to rest and suggest measures to prevent spreading the infection to others. Make sure that you stay well- hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol. This is particularly important, as your liver will not be working properly. Immunisation is one of the most effective forms of protection against Hepatitis A and lasts for up to 10 years. Planning is paramount because the injection takes four to six weeks to be effective. If you're travelling to a high-risk country there are a number of precautions you should take. One of the best preventative measures is to drink only bottled water. If this is not always possible then boiling or sterilising tap water can be just as effective. Avoid having ice in your drinks and don't buy ice cream from vendors where it may have melted. Particular care needs to be taken with uncooked foods, including salads, fruit and vegetables. It's a good idea to stick to fruit that you peel yourself, because there's no danger of the part you eat having been washed in contaminated water. Finally, wherever possible only eat freshly cooked food that is served piping hot, and make sure any cold food has been kept cool. Hepatitis A has been around a long, long time Health issues in your neck of the woods In this regular column on medical conditions, BUPA International explains Hepatitis A Fast Facts 66421 Fast Facts 66420 In this regular column featuring key expat locations around the world, AXA PPP Healthcare profiles Argentina. Before travelling to Argentina www.netdoctor.co.uk recommends that you receive the following vaccinations: Diphtheria -- three months before you travel. Tuberculosis -- three months before you travel. Hepatitis B -- two months before you travel. Rabies -- one month before you travel. Hepatitis A -- two weeks before you travel. Typhoid -- 10 days before you travel. All travellers are advised to ensure that tetanus and polio vaccinations are up-to-date. Since January 2007, there has been a serious outbreak of dengue fever, including a number of deaths, in Paraguay. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states, "Cases have also been reported in the northern Argentine provinces Fast Facts 66014 Fast Facts 66013 ...be in safe hands. Award-winning international private medical insurance for you and your family. Wherever you are... Contact us now for a quotation or further advice on International Healthcare T +44 (0)1252 745900 E email@example.com W www.interglobalpmi.com Innovations in International Private Medical Insurance Best Individual International PMI Provider | Portfolio International Awards 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom IGUKAD19/0207 bordering Paraguay (notably Corrientes, Misiones and Formosa). There is no effective treatment for dengue, which has severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal. You are advised to take advice on local conditions when travelling within Argentina and to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents." Argentina's public health service is very basic. Therefore, most people in a position to afford it have a private health insurance plan. Many companies insure their employees directly in a private health plan. If your company does offer you private health insurance as a benefit, make sure they offer you a plan that covers as much as possible, and check which local doctors and hospitals are included in your coverage. It is also recommended by Living Abroad that you contract a private service to take care of you in emergency situations. In the event of an emergency medical situation, the clinic you are admitted to will depend upon your coverage, choice of doctor and particular medical problem. If you do not have a medical insurance plan, hospitals will usually require some advanced payment. In Buenos Aires there are many 24-hour emergency facilities specialising in different areas, such as dental or eye clinics.However, emergency services are not as reliable as those in other countries. Ask colleagues and neighbours where quality emergency care is provided. Argentine physicians are generally well educated and highly skilled, with many having received their advanced training abroad. However, the level of quality in city hospitals is not as high as you may expect due to lack of equipment. Private clinics and hospitals throughout Buenos Aires provide the highest technical standards, the standard of treatment is generally lower in other cities, but still acceptable. With the exception of some very specialised medical treatment drugs, most health care, medical, hygiene and cosmetic products (or their generic equivalents) are available in Buenos Aires and the principal cities. Some products may be more expensive than in the US or Europe. To be fully prepared, it is advisable to take along between six- months and a year's supply of the following personal health care and hygiene products which may be expensive and difficult to find: Contraceptive and sanitary items. Eye care, including contact lens soaking solutions (very expensive). Vitamins, including children's brands (very expensive, no children's brands). Cosmetics and hair care products. In addition you should bring several months' supply of any medications that you are currently taking to last until you are established with a new doctor. Finally drinking water in Argentina is relatively clean, however tap water is specially treated with chlorine and, in Buenos Aires, the content is very high and the taste might be different from what you are used to.