If people have learned anything in the past two years with the ongoing Covid pandemic, health needs to be taken very seriously. They have understood that what might look like common cold and chronic fever can be fatal. Another disease that had taken the world by storm, and caused mass casualties a few years ago, was the bird flu or Avian Influenza. Bird flu in India is a recurring problem that has been a cause for concern since 2015. The real danger of the bird flu virus is that it has a mortality rate. But if caught in time and treated, a person has a fair chance to beat the avian flu.
When it comes to bird flu in India, where the population is large and people live in very close quarters, an infectious disease can get around in the blink of an eye. The only option a person has then is to be cautious. If you are wondering how to safeguard yourself, it is by getting the right medical insurance plan. When you have health insurance, you can rest easy knowing that you can afford the best care possible should you fall sick.
When it comes to a medical insurance policy, Tata AIG’s health insurance policy is trusted by many people because of many reasons. The benefits of health insurance you get when you buy a policy from Tata AIG include cashless hospitalisation, cost-effective plans, comprehensive coverage, ambulance covers, and pre and post-hospitalisation, among other things. We also offer you the chance to customise your plans per your needs and requirements. So when getting a medical insurance plan, place your trust in Tata AIG!
Keeping these pointers in mind, let us get a deeper look into the bird flu virus or Avian Influenza and what are the consequences of bird flu in humans.
What is Bird Flu or Avian Flu?
The bird flu is a type of influenza virus that breaks out among some birds. This type of virus very seldom affects humans. However, in the last few years, there have been more and more cases of the disease. The two strains of avian flu that have very frequently affected humans, H5N1 and H7N9, have been recognised to be the most dangerous strains of the virus. Humans are susceptible to avian influenza, which can be fatal to them.
There have been bird flu outbreaks in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Bird flu in India has proven to be a major concern. Most people who have shown signs of the bird flu have been close to sick birds. Bird flu in humans can also be transmitted from one infected person to another. However, such cases are rare.
Health officials are concerned that a global pandemic might ensue if the bird flu virus evolves into a version that spreads more quickly from person to person.
Bird Flu Causes
Although there are other avian flu strains, H5N1 was the initial to infect people. The first outbreak took place in Hong Kong in 1997. Bird flu was caused by the handling of diseased chickens in this case.
H5N1 typically exists in wild waterfowl. However, it can quickly spread to farmed poultry. A common bird flu cause includes humans coming into contact with contaminated bird excrement, respiratory secretions, or eye or lip mucus secretion. Bird flu can also be caused if you live in very cold climates.
The bird flu cannot be contracted by eating cooked bird meat or eggs from sick birds. However, runny eggs must be avoided when bird flu is going around. When the meat reaches an interior temperature of about 165°F (73.9°C), it is deemed safe for consumption. Do not consume undercooked poultry meat.
After learning about what bird flu is caused by, let us look into some common risk factors associated with the disease.
If you are a poultry farmer, you are at a greater risk of getting bird flu.
Bird flu virus can remain active for 10 days. If you are working with poultry not kept in hygienic conditions, the risk of contracting bird flu increases.
Travelling to places with an outbreak increases the risk of contracting bird flu.
If you consume undercooked poultry meat or eggs.
If you are living near an infected person and tending to them.
If you are a healthcare worker taking care of an infected person.
If you are exposed to birds that have been infected.
Now that you know a little more about bird flu causes, let us look into the bird flu symptoms.
Bird Flu Symptoms
When it comes to catching the disease early is very important. If the disease is not treated within the first 48 hours of the patient contracting the illness, the chance of death increases significantly. The first thing to do regarding bird flu is to be aware. The symptoms of bird flu can often be very similar to a common cold or a viral fever. However, if you are aware of an outbreak of the disease around you, you should get tested as soon as you show any symptoms. Taking prompt action can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
The symptoms you should be on the lookout for include:
Difficulty in remembering events
Roughness in the voice
Pain in the chest area
Blood in the cough
If you notice you or someone in your proximity has developed these symptoms, and there has been a recent outbreak of bird flu close to you, you must see a doctor as soon as you can.
Bird Flu Diagnosis
When it comes to bird flu, your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms and the severity of your symptoms. There are multiple ways in which your doctor can confirm if you have bird flu or the regular flu. Some ways to confirm the disease include;
The first thing your doctor will ask for is probably an A/H5 virus real-time RT-PCR test. This test detects the flu antibodies in your system by a culture of your sputum and nasal mucous.
The next thing your doctor will want to see is the severity of your condition. They will ask you to undergo a chest X-Ray to see how far your lungs have been affected.
Your doctor might also ask you for blood tests to see the count of your white blood tests and various other counts showing how far the infection has progressed.
In some rare cases, your doctor may ask you for a CT scan.
Your doctor may also use Auscultation, a test to check how well you are breathing and if there is any abnormality in your breathing.
Bird Flu Treatment
As we have already stated above, when it comes to the bird flu virus, it is important to get treatment within the first 48 hours. Not getting treatment at the right time can lead to severe complications and even death in some cases. When your doctor is treating you, they will treat you according to your symptoms. If your symptoms have progressed rapidly and you have developed Sepsis, Pneumonia or multi-organ failure owing to the virus, they will first try to provide you with treatment to reverse the symptoms. You may have to be given oxygen if you are having trouble breathing on your own or if you are having excessive coughing. You may even have to get emergency surgery if you have organ failure or if any of your vital organs are in danger. However, these are more extreme cases; it does not have to come to this if you get treatment in time and be cautious.
You will be given anti-viral medication like Tamiflu and Relenza when treating the virus. These will help you battle the disease and make a full recovery. Suppose your doctor notices that you are on the verge of falling very ill owing to your symptoms and need the medicines in your body quickly. In that case, they may choose to admit you and administer the antivirals intravenously. Amantadine and rimantadine are common antiviral drugs. However, they should not be given to patients because the virus can potentially resist these drugs.
If you have been exposed to the virus and are showing symptoms of the disease, your doctors might suggest isolation until the completion of your medication to prevent the spread of the virus. People close to an infected person might also be advised to take the full dose of medication to avoid risks.
Prevention of Bird Flu
Prevention is often said to be better than a cure, which is true in the case of the bird flu virus. While preventing the onset of bird flu is difficult, it is not impossible. Avoiding the virus is easier because it does not transmit easily among human beings. If you are careful in some aspects and follow some basic guidelines, you can avoid the virus completely.
Some ways to prevent the onset of bird flu are:
Be aware of an outbreak of the virus around you, especially if you work in the poultry business.
Keep your poultry clean.
Wash your hands regularly with soap or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.
If you are travelling to a place with open poultry farms, use a face mask and avoid going very close to poultry.
If you deal in poultry meat, wash your hands and the cutting board whenever you work with a fresh piece of meat.
Do not heap meat one over another.
Do not consume uncooked or undercooked poultry meat.
Do not consume raw or runny eggs, and stay away from the shell of the egg when eating out.
There is a vaccine for bird flu available in the US. However, that vaccine is not available in India. If the vaccine becomes available at any time, take the vaccine promptly.
Why Use Health Insurance
Bird flu in India can be very unpredictable and can also give rise to other diseases. Getting the right treatment and nipping the virus in the bud is the only way forward with a disease like bird flu. Now, like with most influenza-**like diseases, you may never know what disease you are suffering from until it is too late and you need hospitalisation. In such situations, having a medical insurance plan is very helpful.
Some instances when having a medical insurance plan can help you include;
-Peace- When you get health insurance coverage, you know that you have contributed to your health security. You know that you are equipped to deal with any health issue head-on. You may sleep better knowing you'll never have to worry about paying for a health-related emergency.
-Cost- Healthcare has always been and now is increasingly more expensive. Paying for basic services can be difficult for many people, and if you need special services like hospitalisation and ambulance services, the bill you would have to pay could prove to be a burden. However, when you have a medical insurance plan, you do not have to worry about the financial side of healthcare and can focus on making a complete recovery.
-Covid Care- When we talk about any lung-**related disease, we cannot help but think about Covid. Because the coronavirus pandemic devastated so many lives over the past two years, we have learned how unexpected life can be. Therefore, having Covid-19 insurance can provide peace of mind that, should you contract Covid, you can receive the best care and recover completely.
-Cashless Hospitalisation- A policy from Tata AIG equips you with a network of the best hospitals around the country in your time of need. When you go to these hospitals for treatment, you do not need to think about making payments or arranging for money. We will take care of all the payments for you while you can rest easy and make a complete recovery.
This is How You Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance
If you are considering buying health insurance from Tata AIG, you will be happy to learn that the process is extremely simple and will not take up much of your time. Further, you can choose if you want to buy your plan online or offline.
Online- To buy your plan online, you need to:
Go to our website and select for who you want to buy the health insurance. You have the option to buy health insurance for yourself, your spouse, your children, and your parents.
Once you determine the insured, click on ‘Get Plan’.
Furnish the required information, and Tata AIG will suggest the best plans for you.
On the next page, select the sum insured from the drop-down to see the premium amount.
You can compare the plans to see what suits you best.
Select the plan you want to go ahead with, and click on ‘Buy Now’.
Our experts will reach out to you for further assistance.
Once you pay the fee, your application will be processed, and if everything is in place, you will receive your policy in a few moments.
Offline- To buy your policy offline, you must:
Locate and visit a Tata AIG office near you.
Mention at the counter that you wish to buy a policy.
Our insurance expert will come to you to explain what your options are.
Once you have made a choice, fill out the application form.
Check the details you have filled in and attach the relevant documents.
Go to the counter and submit your application.
Pay the application fees.
The process is now complete. You will receive your policy statement post verification.
Documents Required to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan
If you want to buy a policy from Tata AIG, you need to submit;
Passport-size colour photographs
Documents relating to your health history
Other Health Pages
Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Frequently Asked Question
Does eating chicken give you bird flu?
If you are consuming chicken that is well-cleaned and cooked, you are not in danger of getting bird flu.
What is the mortality rate when it comes to bird flu?
Bird flu is treatable when caught in the first 48 hours, but the mortality rate increases to 60%.
What preparation is the best to have when there is a bird flu outbreak?
If you have eggs during a bird flu outbreak, do not consume the yolk while it is raw or runny. It is best to consume hard-boiled eggs in such situations.
Will my insurance cover my tests before my hospitalisation?
If your tests are directly related to the disease you are being admitted for, your Tata AIG policy will cover its costs.