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Expat Investor : September 2008
HEALTHCARE The low-down on pneumonia In this regular column on medical conditions, Dr Torben Staehr Johansen, Medical Director, BUPA International, explains pneumonia. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs, usually caused by an infection of the lung tissue by one of many different germs. It is very common in many countries across the world and in the UK in particular it affects around one in every 100 people each year. Babies and people over 65 most commonly get pneumonia and the majority of infections occur in the autumn or winter. Pneumonia is often divided into two main categories (‘community- acquired pneumonia’ and ‘hospital- acquired pneumonia’), depending on whether someone was infected while living at home or while staying in hospital. There are a range of bacteria that may cause an infection leading to ‘typical pneumonia’, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae and pseudomonas which causes pneumonia. This is the most common cause of pneumonia. Viruses can also be a source of infection including influenza – or flu. An infection with a bacterium and a virus can occur at the same time. A Streptococcus pneumoniae infection is usually ‘secondary’ to a person having flu, for example. This is known as a ‘secondary infection’ and can slow down recovery significantly. People with a weakened immune system, such as people with AIDS or those that have had an organ transplant may get additional pneumonia-causing infections. Pneumonia can also be caused by inhaling substances, such as caustic chemicals, food or vomit into the lungs. This is known as ‘aspiration’ pneumonia and is not infectious. For anyone contracting pneumonia the symptoms will depend on how much of the lung is affected and the type of infection that has been contracted. Symptoms may come on quite suddenly and include, in the beginning, a dry cough, which progresses to be a cough with pain in the side of your chest that can make breathing and coughing uncomfortable, fever, loss of appetite and aches and pains. The germs that cause pneumonia may be present in the body for some time before causing illness. Or, they may also be spread between people through droplets in September 2008 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 19 Fast Facts 77011 the air by coughing and sneezing. Antibiotics can be administered to treat pneumonia caused by bacteria and are generally very effective. If test results show that pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work and the body will need to fight the infection on its own. It may therefore take longer for someone to recover. Stopping smoking and only drinking in moderation can reduce the risk of many illnesses and this includes pneumonia. Fast Facts 77431 Because nothing in the world matters more than each other AXA PPP healthcare brings you great British health cover.Wherever you live in the world Your health is everything. So it pays to take the best possible care of it. Whether you’re a resident expatriate or a local national – working, travelling or retired – our International Health Plans bring priceless peace of mind. We’ll give you prompt access to private medical treatment, a choice of hospitals, emergency evacuation or repatriation, and many more benefits. We even have an English-speaking health information line – on call for you, 24/7. With over 35 years’ of international experience, and over 2 million customers in the UK and worldwide, you can trust AXA PPP healthcare to protect the health of those you care for. Join now – and get up to two months cover, completely free. all +44(0)1892 550814 quoting reference EI5555 or visit www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/expat_investor All claims will be assessed against the terms and conditions of the chosen product and any individual exclusions placed on your policy at joining. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. © AXA PPP healthcare 2008 Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday (UK time). Calls may be recorded.
July August 2008