With the increase in online transactions due to decreased in-store operations in Hong Kong, is your business covered for cyber threats?
Rain is associated with a throng of things, most of which are good.
So, naturally, the rainy season invigorates these good things such as: running in puddles, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof that lulls you to sleep, coffees by the windowsill, and for the love-stricken, it’s the ultimate “cuddle weather”.
However, the rainy season brings more than the comfort hot cocoas and oversized sweatshirts.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but ‘this is also the season for “seasonal” diseases. The quotation marks are there because these diseases are technically always present, however, because the conditions are more favourable in the rainy season, the risk of acquiring them is higher.
Here’s a list of diseases that you need to look out for in the season that keeps on pouring…diseases:
Dengue is a mosquito-borne, fast-spreading, disease caused by the Flavivirus. It is one of the fastest-spreading diseases at present and, if left untreated, can lead to death.
In the Philippines, out of a total of 77,040 suspected cases, 328 deaths were reported in the first 20 weeks of 2019. Consequently, this makes it an urgent public concern. It is one of the most monitored diseases during the rainy season.
The cases of dengue increase during the rainy season because of the stagnant water that fills up make-shift or incidental “basins” such as pots or bottles which serve as a paradise for the virus-bearing mosquitoes. These areas act as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes. If the area is unkempt or polluted, the happier the mosquitoes.
Further research for the cure for dengue is still underway, and definite
treatment for the diseases is still non-existent. The best way to handle a dengue patient is to bring them to a hospital for supportive care.
The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages early detection, awareness, and preventive measures to fight the spread of the disease. These preventive measures include cleaning the mosquito breeding sites, using mosquito repellents, and nets.
Furthermore, vaccination is encouraged. Aside from dengue, other vector-borne diseases to look out for during the rainy season are Malaria and Yellow fever. However, the incidence of the two is lower than that of Dengue.
An indirect disease associated with heavy downpour is Leptospirosis which is a bacterial disease caused by the spirochete Leptospira. It can be carried by a variety of animals such as rodents, dogs, livestock, and wildlife however, the poster boy of the disease are sewer rats.
The disease can be acquired when broken skin, just like in cases of lacerations or open wounds, is exposed to water or soil contaminated by the infected animal’s bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva, etc.). This can also be ingested in cases wherein the water lines in domestic homes are contaminated.
Places, where there is a poor sewage system or sanitation, are prone to flooding. When there’s rain, there’s a flood, and that murky water is a mixture of animal urine and faeces. Hence, people who trudge the flood, especially those with wounds on their legs and feet, are prone to developing the disease.
If untreated, Leptospirosis will cause serious illnesses such as kidney or liver failure, meningitis, difficulty breathing, and bleeding.
Unlike Dengue, antibiotic therapy can be done to fight the disease, but early
detection is vital to the treatment. It is also stressed that prevention can be done by avoiding contact with contaminated water and soil by using appropriate, protective clothing. Prevention of rodent infestation by keeping your area clean is also highly recommended.
Other diseases that we should be vigilant for in cases of flood include typhoid fever, cholera, and hepatitis A.
If you’re travelling anywhere in Asia this rainy season, make sure you have the proper travel insurance cover to keep you protected from emergencies.
Cancer takes more than lives. It also goes after a hefty amount of your savings.
In just a span of two years, half of all US cancer patients breeze through their funds, accentuating a total of $92,000 in twelve months.
This is all detailed in a new study called “Death or Debt? National Estimates of Financial Toxicity in Persons with Newly-Diagnosed Cancer” which was published this month. According to its findings, these heavy costs are mostly of risk to be shouldered by the elderly and those without insurance, among others.
In the US, cancer comes second to heart disease as the undisputed title-holder of the most notorious killer.
But unlike heart disease which has a pool of research and funds dedicated to it, the cost of cancer treatment, for any country is financially unfathomable. Annually, 1.6 million new Americans are diagnosed with cancer. From this, 600,000 barely finish treatment and die.
The healthcare system credits to spending $87.8 billion yearly for patients. Specifically, unfinished treatments resulting in death leads to a $130 billion cost.
A huge portion of treatment expenditure still falls on the patient. The American Cancer Society along with the Cancer Action Network reports that as of four years ago, findings revealed that patients still shouldered a total of $4 billion on their end just for seeking cancer treatment.
Crunching beyond the numbers
The core of the study took 9.5 million patients and 16 years to see completion (1998-2014).
Setting aside the statistics, the medical study delineates the kinks that needed to be worked out when it comes to medical budget and productivity.
The journal is an updated study from the same set of authors from five years ago and is published in the American Journal of Medicine. Initially, in the study’s first findings, it revealed that cancer, specifically, breast cancer, accounts for 33 million sick days among the US working citizens annually.
The update to the study echoes a more heartbreaking revelation: half of the cancer-afflicted patients within their study have started and been easily sunk into bankruptcy due to treatment expenses.
This brings a new reality to the table: that the economy pulls a really tensioned string even to cancer patients who struggle with the cost of treatment.
When toxicity seeps to your finances
A big danger lies in the fact that the risk for financial toxicity goes greater with cancer treatment. After years of fluctuation in the economy, one would think that the financial burden on the patients would’ve lessened but has so far remained consistent.
Grant Skrepnek, one of the paper’s writers believes the results were “shocking,” seeing as to how figures have reached higher levels, which he has seen in his 20 years in cancer research.
Despite the advent of immunotherapy, which is pegged as a vital tool for the possible elimination of cancer, Skrepnek believes that it also has downsides, such as its ability to hamper predictions for cancer trends.
Jennifer Singleterry believes otherwise and sees a bigger threat in short-term healthcare plans.
Singleterry, a senior policy analyst from the American Cancer Society is concerned with the coverage of these health care plans, which have a limited coverage and “caps” – which hurts finances as it doesn’t include cancer treatment.
She adds that dependency to these short-term plans will only be harmful to those afflicted will illness, who will be left with even higher insurance premiums.
What this ultimately reveals is another layer of fear added to cancer: first the diagnosis, and now the financial horrors.
Village Insurance Direct helps expats in Hong Kong find critical illness insurance. Contact us for inquiries.