• International Insurance Blog

  • Sunday, July 23, 2017

If you have just bought Novartis Over-The-Counter drugs Excedrin, Gas-X Prevention, NoDoz, or Bufferin, check the expiration dates. They may be included in the recall of the company due to complaints about broken pills. If you are traveling overseas and have these drugs in your medicine bag, use your international health insurance to make the necessary adjustments and changes. It would risky to keep taking these drugs and assuming that you can use your international medical insurance to cover any ill effects from taking the drugs. Why take the chance?
According to Novartis, the recall is a precautionary and voluntary act on the part of company and should not have any adverse effect. They have even listed down the exact batches for each drugs that fall under the recall:

• Excedrin and NoDoz – Expiration dates Dec 2014 or earlier
• Bufferin and Gas X prevention – Expiration Dates Dec 2013 and earlier

All new shipments have been postponed to determine the cause of the broken or chipped pills. They have several theories such as heavy handling during shipping, aggressive handling, problem with display, or a production foul-up. The problem with broken pills if they are time release-type tablets is that they can cause problems because a person is exposed to the drug all at once instead of over a period of time.
Novartis promises to work hand in hand with the FDA to resolve and improve the problem before shipping out new batches. According the CEO of Novartis, Joseph Jimenez, “We are committed to a single quality standard for the entire Novartis Group and we are making the necessary investments and committing the right resources to ensure these are implemented across our entire network.”

Hot off the tables of the top World Health Organization officers is a warning to those planning to travel over the holidays. First of all is the important need to get international travel insurance. International travel health insurance will protect you no matter where you are from having to pay exorbitant amounts for medical or travel problems.

Second is the warning from WHO about new flu viruses. This warning comes on the heels of 10 new infections from a flu virus in the United States which appears to be a variant of the swine flu. WHO has also said that they have alerted the medical communities around the world about new outbreaks for polio, human flu, small pox and SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The last outbreak of SARS happened 9 years ago and started in China before spreading to the west including Canada. That outbreak caused more than 770 deaths. The WHO is determined to avoid something similar happening this year end, and into 2012. A stern warning has also been given to everyone about reporting any incident as part of a country’s obligation to the rest of the world. This refers only to diseases and infections that are new with symptoms that may resemble an outbreak or mutated virus.

Travelers should keep track of what’s happening in the places they plan to visit before even getting on a plane or ship. If they have trip cancellation insurance, they can claim for a refund on their ticket.  Furthermore, they have to get their immunizations updated including the one for the influenza. According to WHO, “Influenza viruses are unpredictable, they have the possibility to change and become more transmissible among humans as shown by the emergence of the influenza pandemic H1N1 virus in 2009.” For this reason, continued monitoring of the occurrence of human infections with these viruses and characterization of the viruses themselves are critically important to assess their pandemic potential.”

Most people would rather not talk about Afghanistan because of the civil unrest and the fact that it’s a place most associated with death and war. However, one of the silver linings on this particular situation is the fact that women now have better maternal health services and there are fewer problems with childbirth. It is partly because of the presence and help from NATO forces as well as increased consciousness on worldwide health insurance for visitors entering the country. Very few of visitors who travel to Afghanistan are tourists. Many are there because they are journalists or support groups of the NATO combat forces. They bring international travel health insurance with them. It’s part of their survival kit.

It’s become even more critical that one of the legacies of the NATO presence is this gift to women who are pregnant now that NATO forces are finally withdrawing with finality. As of May 2011, the program known as Save The Children recognized Afghanistan as the worst place to have children. Prior to implementing any kind of reform, the ration of women dying from children was 1 for every 11. This is now a welcome 1 in 50 for women between the ages of 15 to 49. Children below 5 also improved from 1 in 5 dying before reaching 6th year to 1 in 10.

Women in Afghanistan are more informed about their rights and what they can do to prevent childbirth problems. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not always a pleasant condition since women still face violence and rape and do not have legal means to protect them. In many cases women who have been violated have to marry their assailant to protect her family’s name.  Thus, many of these women care not to be careful about their pregnancy.

Also, Asia Foundation reports that many rural areas have no sufficient medical care facilities. There is also lack of medical staff and midwives willing to travel around the rural areas. Hopefully, now that the NATO forces are leaving, there will be normalcy and less fighting.

An alarm was sounded after a New Zealand hospital revealed that hospital staff contracted TB or tuberculosis from a patient who later died from an unrelated TB condition. It emphasizes once more the need for all travelers to protect themselves with international travel health insurance. With overseas health insurance, a visitor to any foreign country can get proper medical treatment in a major hospital with excellent facilities and the best doctors.
The NZ hospital where the TB case occurred is admittedly a rare incident. The TB happened because he patient’s immune system was compromised by his condition. His inactive TB turned active and was unexpected.
The hospital has taken all necessary precautions to have everyone who was exposed to the patient tested for TB. This includes hospital staff, doctors, relatives and friends of the patient and others. Thus far, only 3 have been tested positive for latent TB.
Latent TB means that the condition is controllable and the infected person cannot contaminate anyone. Basically, they have bacteria in their lungs and this is treatable with drugs. According to medical experts, 90% of people with latent TB never get full-blown TB. Their immune system prevents it from becoming active. Symptoms include blood in the phlegm, coughing, chest pains, appetite loss, weight loss, and fatigue.
Anyone can get TB but usually the cases come from developing countries which mean the man probably traveled to a developing country. It also means that anyone traveling to a developing country should take the necessary precautions.

Technically, it isn’t an outbreak yet but there is a rise in measles cases across Europe. With the vast number of US travelers to Europe, it is of no surprise that measles cases are also increasing in the US. This is a major cause to get worldwide health insurance if you have any travel plans. At least with the inoculations required by international travel health insurance, you are not at risk of getting exposed and contaminated by the virus.
In October, London health officials pegged the measles cases at over 26 thousand and 9 deaths. In France, the reported number of cases for measles was 14 thousand. Most of the cases were isolated to young children which suggest that there was a misstep in ensuring children were vaccinated and given the booster shots.
Other countries that have reported a spike in measles cases are Spain, Macedonia, Romania, and Uzbekistan. These figures were confirmed by WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the US, so far only 205 cases were reported for this year although the usual number is 50. Thus, it’s still alarming because of the sharp increase. All medical authorities have confirmed that the main cause is a failure to keep vaccination rates at 95% for the entire population. More than of the measles cases were experienced by patients who did not get the measles shots and/or booster shots.
Measles is very contagious and is an air-borne virus. You don’t even have to touch the infected person to get measles. It is especially dangerous for young children with a high death rate of 2 children in every 1,000 cases.

Not many travelers are considering the consequences of heat on their health. For those thinking of escaping the cold winter by vacationing in tropical countries, experts strongly recommend worldwide health insurance. Without protection from international travel health insurance, you may not get the best medical attention while overseas. In Africa for instance, there is a lack of doctors. This is because many have migrated to other countries for a better life.

While a safari sound exotic and enticing, being covered by the right kind of travel insurance means you get the kind of medical attention you’re used to. This doesn’t just apply to this winter but according to experts, the heat in tropical countries is expected to rise by 4 degrees Celsius by the time it gets to year 2100.

If you’ve traveled to these countries before, don’t expect the same kind of weather. It will be hotter. The usual symptoms would be itchiness, excessive sweating, exhaustion, blisters, dizziness, headaches, insomnia, body aches, and leg pains.

Even young people are vulnerable and can suffer from kidney failure because of severe dehydration. Of course, one has to stay out of the sun and be adequately covered. Drinking enough clean water is important. Just to give you an idea of the heat now in places like Africa: Africans who have to work outdoors usually carry 7 liters of water daily, and still they get dizzy or feel weak.  The effects of global warming will hit these countries first even if they did very little to cause global warming.

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