• International Insurance Blog

  • Saturday, March 17, 2018

It isn’t uncommon to have sleep problems when traveling but it can be more than just insomnia or excitement. According to health experts traveling without international health insurance is risky because sleep conditions are often not diagnosed and become a health risk. If you are overseas without knowing anyone in the area, it’s scary to get sick. At least with international medical insurance, you can call a number and the company can take care of the arrangements.

One of the most common sleep problems that can become a complication is sleep apnea which is loss of oxygen supply while in deep sleep.  According to the resource speakers during the recently concluded World Sleep Day last March 16, sleep problems like apnea are a global epidemic. Many of these sleep issues can be prevented and treated but it has to be diagnosed first.

The World Sleep Day took place in Nigeria and is an annual medical event where the focus is on the social responsibility of doctors and those in the medical industry to reduce the number of people who are unaware of sleep disorders.Simple situations like snoring can be caused by too much alcohol, obesity, lack of sleep, fatigue, or sleep apnea. The solutions would be to avoid alcohol before sleeping, sleeping on the right side instead of flat on your back, and observing health diet habits. Serious conditions may mean sleep position therapy, oral gadgets for the mouth, airway pressure, or surgery.

The problem of unattended sleep conditions would be irritability, diabetes, reduced libido, hampered analytical skills, and even heart failure. This is aggravated if a person sleeps alone and has no idea he or she snores. Emergencies can occur while out of the country which again emphasizes why travel health insurance is considered a necessity. It would even be advisable for a person suffers from poor sleeping habits to have a physical check-up prior to traveling.

Many foreigners travel to India because it is fast becoming the focal point for computer-related and support system businesses. However, the recent news coming from India about a 50% nurse shortage should prompt everyone going there to get international health insurance. Without international health insurance, you could end up sick and in a hospital where there is a lack of nursing staff.

The problem is not that India doesn’t have nurses but that they prefer to work elsewhere for better pay. A senior health officer, V. Ravi from Bangalore says, “There is a 40-50 percent shortage of nursing personnel due to increasing demand for nurses, nursing and allied services in the healthcare sector across the country and globally.” The system demands that in cases of critical illness, one nurse should be assigned per patient and one for every 10 non-critical patients. That need is not being met.

Marilyn Stonar who comes from California State University agrees with this assessment that the problem is global. The population of older people is much higher than before because medical science and technology have found a way to extend life. In addition, there are new diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and accidents being reported daily.

Stonar added that in the United States about a third of the country’s nursing staff is due to retire in 2012. There are not that many Americans studying to be nurses and the jobs may be offered nurses overseas.
In Finland, the focus of the government is not to find nurses but to promote a healthier and a more cautious lifestyle. They are constantly on a media blitz to inform their citizens about preventing sickness and accidents instead of being carefree and nonchalant about how they live.

A member of the Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences located in Finland, Pia Hagquist says, ““The Finland government focuses on problem-based learning to promote importance of public health.” The university is also very aggressive in exchange programs between nursing schools to provide a better education and orientation for their nursing students.

Traveling anywhere away from home automatically includes getting international health insurance because it’s impossible to predict when a natural disaster will occur; when you will be infected with a bacteria ; or when you get into an accident and need medical treatment. The international medical insurance is one way to ensure that you get the quality in medical services that you are accustomed to.
However, the latest buzz from the World Health Organization (WHO) about a post antibiotic era has many talking. Could it be possible that antibiotics will no longer be effective some time in the future? With the kind of advance technology we seeing developing in computers and engineering, it’s hard to imagine that we won’t have protection from the mythical super bug.
Although WHO does have a point in saying that some people may start becoming immune to strong antibiotics because of too much reliance on medication. For instance if a person takes drugs because “he feels he is going to get sick” or he thinks antibiotics is the answer to a fever, then eventually his body will be immune to antibiotics and it won’t be as effective anymore.
This is why many doctors refrain from prescribing antibiotics right away. Also, they switch brands and dosages if the person just finished a round of antibiotics. This is done to prevent a case of increased immunity to the drug.
By being more careful about how we take drugs, we can hold off a resistance to the drug. If we don’t, our bodies will not respond and the so-called super bug will just be the simple cold or sore throat. WHO does say that this is already something very common around the world. And they say that it is a very serious situation because medicine will no longer be effective.
With the misuse of antibiotics, WHO predicts that even with excellent bedside care, only 50% of people infected with a disease or condition will survive.  Antibiotics should be taken with extreme care and the body should be given a chance to heal on its own. According to a London doctor, Dr. David Lloyd, “A lot of our patients, because of the pressures they are under in their everyday lives, feel that they need everything they can to get better as quickly as possible.” We need to start practicing self control when reaching for strong medicine and not letting the pressure of one’s life create a bigger problem than losing a job or a lower paycheck from days absent.  Minor infections should be allowed to heal normally, and that will halt the mythical super bug from killing us.

Everything to do with a medical treatment, healing, and surgery is now being offered as part of medical tourism in many Asian, Central American countries, including South Africa. The main appeal for traveling to other countries is the affordability of the procedures and treatments as compared to what one can get in their country. However, many of these procedures are not covered by international medical insurance. One is even required to pay in cash or credit card in many of these places. This effectively lessens accountability should something go wrong. Who can you turn to if you don’t have an option like international health insurance?

Of course there are very few cases of botched surgeries or treatments but it still can happen. For instance, having cosmetic surgery to remove excess fat in the body can easily cause a problem if the patient isn’t tested for allergic reaction to the drugs used. There are also cases when the wrong tooth was pulled out or the wrong dosage was administered. 

On the other hand, the fact remains that over half a million Americans have travelled elsewhere for surgery and only a small percent have had problems. Thus, it really matters where you go and who you pick to handle your surgery. Going through the internet for the cheapest prices shouldn’t be the way it’s done. This is like shopping for clothes or shoes. There has to be a precedent of successful operations and zero botched surgeries for you to even consider a place. Otherwise, you will end up spending more than if you had it done locally.

Your other option would be to expand your medical insurance so you can avail of certain services through an expert local surgeon. You won’t have to face extra expenses such as travel, food, and accommodations not just for yourself but for the person who will accompany you. After all, you can’t do something like this on your own. What if something goes wrong and you have no one to cling to for help other than the facility staff you checked into? How about communication problems if it is in a country where English is not the main language? These are just a few thought-provoking ideas you have to seriously contemplate before traveling hundreds of miles to save several hundred dollars.

This weekend promises to be Britain’s coldest for the year. The Brits have even predicted havoc and death to happen over the month due to the extreme weather conditions. If you are traveling to the UK, you need to arm yourself with international medical insurance and international travel insurance. One would cover your medical bills in case you get sick or sprain an ankle over a bad patch of ice while the other insurance can provide you with a safety net for missed or cancelled flights.

Early in the week, the temperature dropped to a severe negative 9.4 degrees Celsius. February 1 was the coldest recorded temperature in the UK for 2012 winter season.  The government has begun preparing for the worst as Prime Minister David Cameron has set emergency and MP on alert. The country is already at level 3 on the cold weather alert and is expected to remain at this level or worse up to next week.  Alert level 3 is the second gravest level in weather conditions. The sick and elderly and those traveling are advised to keep indoors.

Respected British forecaster, Brian Gaze has said that, “This is the coldest week of winter so far, and if you are travelling, keep checking local forecasts and travel information.” The Met Office has issued a similar warning to residents and visitors to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary and buy provisions for the weekend ahead of time.

It is possible that flights may be delayed or cancelled so check with the airlines before going to the airport. The sidewalks will be slippery and roads may not be passable. If you can delay your trip to the UK for one week, you may experience better weather conditions and less chances of getting into an accident or sick because of the weather.


For several years there has been talk about radiation from airport scanner but the Transportation Security Administration or TSA have continued to turn a blind eye to these “rumors.” That is, until this month, January 2012 when TSA finally decided to test airport security officers for radiation exposure.  Imagine being a frequent traveler, local or international and having to pass these scanners repeatedly without choice. Doesn’t it make it imperative to have international travel health insurance? Technically, you are en route to your destination so radiation exposure could be included in your international health insurance. It’s worth checking on with your provider.
It might also concern you that just last December 2011, TSA required all government vendors to have equipment that would measure radiation exposure. The spokesman for TSA, Nico Melendez said, “TSA is dedicated to the health and safety of its employees. We continuously test our technology to ensure it is safe for both passenger and our officers, and post all results to our website.”
The problems critics have with this policy of not determining radiation levels in airport scanners is that these machines can malfunction, and have done so many times in the past year alone. This implies that radiation exposure could be at a level that isn’t safe. James Babb who co-founded the group, We Won’t Fly says that, “We still have no idea how much radiation is being imposed on travelers by a properly functioning machine. A malfunctioning machine could be particularly nasty.”  This consumer rights group wants an independent body to do the tests on the machines and not just on security personnel who worked with the scanners. However, they do accept that the TSA is moving forward by recognizing that there may be a potential hazard that needs to be addressed properly.

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