Ahad, 22 September 2013

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Ensuring your future


Start planning your future with Zurich Insurance Malaysia's Zurich TrueLady with Flex Lady Critical Illness.

THE journey through womanhood is a bittersweet experience; from the carefree days of your teenage years filled with sweet memories of family and friends to the excitement of your university education and career, to warm and cherished moments with loved ones and new family members.

As you go through these different phases of womanhood, your needs and health risks will change substantially, and you need to ensure you have the best insurance coverage to suit your needs and to ensure that you are happy at every stage of your life.

As a girl passes the threshold of adolescence, there is an increasing sense of self, and of life and the responsibilities that adulthood brings with it.

Beyond the biological and physiological intricacies of the female gender, there is more to being a woman than meets the eye, and one of this is the need for financial protection.

While you may be eager, as a newly independent young lady, to go out and enjoy yourself with the spoils of your first paycheque, it is essential that you first take a step back and consider the fact that while you may be young and the future may seem to lie far ahead, remember that women generally live longer lives but work for shorter periods and suffer from more illnesses than their male counterparts.

It is important, essential even, to start planning your finances as early as possible.

As a young lady, you have the luxury of making sure you have the financial security you need; Zurich TrueLady with the Flex Lady Critical Illness rider can help you to take advantage of your youth to achieve this.

Zurich TrueLady is a series of products from Zurich Insurance Malaysia and combines protection, savings and investment in one plan and provides a woman with the flexibility to decide her insurance needs as she moves from one life stage to another.

It rewards the woman with a loyalty bonus, a reward for making timely and regular premium payments, and which will help to increase her investment account value. It also includes a three years no-lapse benefit; especially beneficial for those lean years when you just start out as a career woman.

In addition, you have optional benefits such as the guaranteed insurability option to enhance your coverage.

You have the flexibility to add on coverage based on your protection needs at different life stage events, such as marriage and the birth of your child, among others, to your existing plan, without underwriting.

What this means is that the Zurich TrueLady combines our basic Zurich FlexiPlus with the option to add on one or more of the following riders – Flex Lady Critical Illness, Flex Maternity Care and Flex Junior CI.

Other optional riders that can be added on include those that cover hospitalisation and surgery, critical illnesses, personal accident and a range of female protection riders.

For this article, we will concentrate on the Flex Lady Critical Illness.

Zurich TrueLady with Flex Lady Critical Illness is an investment-linked policy with regular premium. It provides a combination of protection, savings and investment elements, and is a flexible plan to meet your needs.

This is suitable for women of all ages, but especially so for a young woman as it provides you with all the essential coverage to ensure that you are protected from financial debt brought on by illness.

In fact, it also assists you financially upon diagnosis of female-related illnesses and surgical treatment.

So, back to you being young, carefree and on the brink of spending that first paycheque. Go ahead, enjoy your youth, but also make sure you protect yourself financially. The way ahead may seem bright and shiny, but there certainly is no harm in taking the right step to secure your future now.

n This article is courtesy of Zurich Insurance.

Beware this lung infection


Learn more about aspiration pneumonia, what causes it, and what to do if it happens to your child.

IN general, pneumonia is a term used to describe any infection in the lungs.

Aspiration pneumonia suggests pneumonia that results from something that is accidentally inhaled. It occurs when your child accidentally inhales food, drink, vomit or saliva.

If gastric acid from the stomach enters the lungs, it causes chemical pneumonia. Aspiration of bacteria from the saliva causes bacterial pneumonia, while aspiration of a foreign body causes an acute respiratory emergency, and in some cases, may predispose the patient to bacterial pneumonia.

The ones at risk

Pneumonia can affect anyone, but those at highest and greatest risk are infants, children younger than two years old, and individuals older than 65 years of age.

The following conditions may also increase your child's risk of developing this particular disease:

·Exposure to cigarette smoke, or being in close proximity to smokers.

·Having chronic diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease.

·Weakened/suppressed immune system, due to factors such as HIV/AIDS, organ transplant, chemotherapy for cancer or long-term steroid use.

·When your child's normal gag reflex is disturbed; this could be caused by brain injury or having problems swallowing.

What are the symptoms?

If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms, make sure you seek immediate medical attention:

·Bluish discoloration of the skin; usually caused by lack of oxygen.

·Complains about chest pain.

·Coughs up foul-smelling, greenish or dark phlegm (sputum), or if the phlegm has pus or blood.

·Abnormal feelings of tiredness or fatigue.

·Unexplained fever.

·Shortness of breath, which may or may not be accompanied by wheezing.

·Bad breath.

·Excessive sweating.

·Problems swallowing food or drinking water.

How is it diagnosed?

Your child's paediatrician will review your child's symptoms and examine him. A physical examination may reveal crackling sounds in the lungs, decreased oxygen, rapid pulse (fast heartbeat) and decreased mental awareness.

There are several types of tests that your child may also need. One of the first things that your child's paediatrician may do if aspiration pneumonia is suspected is to collect samples of blood and sputum from your child.

This procedure involves getting a sample of blood to check your child's blood oxygen level to see how well your child's lungs are functioning. At the same time, a lab test will also be done on a sample of your child's sputum.

Your child's paediatrician may also order a chest X-ray to determine if there are foreign materials within your child's lungs; their presence may be the sign of a lung infection.

Another alternative is a CT scan of your child's chest. This may be needed to check whether there is pus collecting in his lungs.

Some of the other diagnostic methods available include either thoracentesis (needle aspiration) or bronchoscopy (instrument inserted into the upper airway to visualise the breathing tubes and lungs).

How is it treated?

Aspiration pneumonia often needs several weeks of treatment with an antibiotic. While aspiration pneumonia is usually treated with intravenous (IV) antibiotics, its severity will determine whether treatment is carried out at home or in the hospital.

Once your child starts recovering, he may be allowed to switch to oral medicine.

If the chest X-ray shows a lot of fluid or pus in the lungs, a drainage tube may be inserted through the chest wall. The tube drains infected material from the lungs.

The tube will be removed when the drainage stops and chest X-rays show improvement. In severe cases, a ventilator to help your child breathe may be required.

Preventing aspiration pneumonia

Some pneumonias can be prevented by immunising your child with the pertussis, measles, Haemophilus influenza type b, influenza and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

Older adults above 50, smokers and people with chronic conditions may also opt for the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

You should also teach your child about the need for good hygiene. Washing of hands and oral hygiene is especially important; good personal hygiene can prevent not just aspiration pneumonia, but many other diseases as well.

It is also crucial that you never expose your child to tobacco smoke. The dangers of second-hand and even third-hand smoke cannot be underestimated; this smoke may come from cigarettes, shisha, etc.

You will also need to be alert; if your child has problems swallowing, talk to your doctor and speech specialist about ways to help prevent aspiration.

In the event that your child needs surgery, be sure to follow the doctor's orders pertaining to fasting before the surgery to decrease the chance of vomiting while unconscious.

Remember that your child's life is too precious for things to go wrong. Take the necessary steps to prevent this serious complication and make sure your child is never in harm's way.

n Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin is a consultant paediatrician and neonatologist. This article is a courtesy of Malaysian Paediatric Association's Positive Parenting programme, supported by an educational grant from Pfizer. The opinion expressed in the article is the view of the author. For further information, please visit www.mypositiveparenting.org. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice.

Take steps to get walking


One effective and cheap way to maintain good heart and overall health is to keep walking.

ONE of the best and least expensive forms of aerobic activity is walking.

"People are always amazed to learn that walking just one mile (1.6km) a day can burn 100 calories," explains Maureen Smith, nurse manager of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in the US. "That averages out to a weight loss of about 4.5kg in a year, and that is without changing your eating habits."

Walking not only increases a person's physical activity and controls weight gain, but also has many important health benefits, including maintaining heart health, improving cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and improving mood.

Most experts agree that walking 6,000 steps daily can improve a person's health, and that taking 10,000 steps a day will contribute to weight loss.

In fact, research shows that women who averaged more than 10,000 steps a day had 40% less body fat and waist and hip measurements, and were four to six inches narrower than those who averaged fewer than 6,000 steps.

Smith explains that for most people, 2.2km is equal to 2,000 steps or a 20-minute walk.

She provides the following tips to help people get started on increasing their daily number of steps and improving their health:

·Walk instead of drive. Rethink how you do your local errands; cross things off your list by walking places when your time allows.

·Use a pedometer to count your steps. Wear it all day and try to take at least 2,000 more steps a day than you normally do, and gradually increase your steps over time.

·Combine short bursts of exercise to create one long workout. Aim to get in three 10-minute or two 15-minute walks, or a 30-minute walk each day.

·Make it social. Find a workout partner or a group of friends who can help keep you on track and motivate you to get out the door.

·Hunt for the farthest parking space. If you drive to work or run errands, purposefully park your car a little farther from your office or the store. It may not seem like much, but over weeks and months, these minutes of exercise add up.

·Take the stairs. Though more of a challenge, walking up stairs burns more calories per minute than most other forms of physical activity.

·Trade screen time for active time. Turn off the TV, computer and smart phone, and take a walk.

·Put exercise on your calendar. Plan specific time in your schedule to exercise and put it in your planner.

·Take lunch on the move. Don't spend your entire allotted lunch time sitting. Recruit some co-workers and take a 10- or 20-minute walk.

"The best way to get exercise is by doing something you like," reminds Smith. "If walking is not your favourite, there are so many other forms of exercise to try."

A lot of different things count as exercise, like dancing, walking, gardening, yoga, cycling and playing basketball. – HealthNewsDigest.com

Take steps to get walking

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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