Fungal Diseases

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Fungal Diseases

Viral, bacterial, and fungal infections have troubled humans from ancient times. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi cause various infections and diseases that cause varied symptoms and attack people with relatively weak immune systems.

In this article, we will talk about fungal infections and diseases caused by fungus. While they usually affect the hair, skin, nails, and mucous membranes, in some cases, the lungs, mouth, and other parts of the body are affected too.

Fungi are neither plants nor animals. While millions of fungi are in the world, only a few are known to cause diseases in people. Some of the common fungi infecting people are yeast and mould. Fungi are present everywhere around us. They are in the soil, plants, and even animals.

Fungal infections are particularly common in people with weaker immune systems. While most fungal infections are mild and treated easily with medicines, in some cases, they can become life-threatening.

If you have a weak immune system and develop severe symptoms due to a fungal disease, then you might have to be hospitalized immediately. This can increase the costs of treatment and medical care and strain on your finances if you don’t have the right health insurance plan.

Tata AIG offers comprehensive medical insurance to help you manage the costs of medical emergencies without worrying about the costs. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and importance of a health insurance plan for fungal diseases.

What are Fungal Diseases?

Fungal diseases are infections caused by fungi. They can affect different parts of the body. There are different types of fungi around us, but not all cause infections. Depending on the type of fungi and the part of the body it affects, the symptoms and the severity of the infection can vary.

Hence, it is important to seek a medical opinion as soon as you observe the onset of symptoms.

Types of Fungal Infections

Here is a quick look at the different types of fungal infections

Superficial fungal infections These infections affect only the outermost layers of the hair, nails, and skin. They are of the following sub-types**

Cutaneous fungal infections Infections of the skin and nails

Subcutaneous fungal infections Infections involving deeper layers of the skin and underlying tissues

Mucocutaneous Infections affecting the skin and mucous membranes

Systemic fungal infections These infections affect multiple organs and tissues throughout the body and spread through the bloodstream. They are of the following sub-types**

Opportunistic fungal infections Infections that attack people with weaker immune systems

Primary fungal infections Infections that can occur in any individual due to exposure to fungi

Endemic fungal infections Infections that are confined to certain geographical areas since certain fungi thrive in specific environments

Nosocomial fungal infections Infections caused as a result of hospitalisation or medical procedures

Allergic fungal infections These infections result in allergic reactions due to the entry of fungi into the body. They are of the following sub-types**

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis An allergic response to the fungus Aspergillus affecting the lungs and airways

Allergic fungal sinusitis An allergic response to fungal growth in the sinuses

**List of Diseases Caused by Fungi

  • Athlete’s Foot

  • Ringworm

  • Jock Itch

  • Nail Fungus

  • Candidiasis

  • Aspergillosis

  • Cryptococcosis

  • Histoplasmosis

Fungal Infection Symptoms

Here is the list of symptoms based on different types of fungal infections:

Type Symptoms
Superficial
Cutaneous A rash that is usually circular, itchy, and red with raised borders. Other symptoms include hair loss, brittle hair, blisters, and cracking of the skin
Subcutaneous The site of the infection gets red and warm. Also, the patient develops painless ulcers and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms include draining sinuses.
Mucocutaneous The primary symptom is bleeding and/or cracking of the corners of the mouth and white patches in the mouth or throat. The affected area might feel sore or have a burning sensation.
Systemic
Opportunistic The primary symptoms are skin lesions, shortness of breath, and fever. Other symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and confusion.
Primary The common symptoms are night sweats, pain in the chest, weight loss, fatigue, and fever.
Endemic Skin lesions and muscle aches are the common symptoms along with chest pain and fever.
Nosocomial Sepsis is the primary symptom, along with difficulty breathing, skin lesions, and fever
Allergic
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis The primary symptoms are shortness of breath and wheezing. Other symptoms may include tightness in the chest and fever.
Allergic fungal sinusitis Chronic sinusitis-related symptoms including nasal congestion, tightness in the face, post-nasal drip, reduced sense of smell, and facial pain

Causes of Fungal Infection

A fungal infection is caused by fungi present in the environment. While we are exposed to millions of fungi every day, not every fungus causes an infection. Fungal infections are caused by some fungi that can overgrow in the given conditions and cause an infection.

Fungal Infection Risk Factors

Here are some factors that increase the risk of fungal infections as per the different types of infection.

Superficial

  • Poor hygiene

  • Humid climate

  • A weakened immune system

  • Contact with animals or objects that have the infecting fungi

  • Contact with soil or vegetation with the fungus

  • Skin trauma

  • Diabetes

  • Use of dentures and antibiotics

Systemic

  • HIV or cancer patients

  • Organ transplant receivers

  • People with prolonged hospitalisation

  • Exposure to contaminated soil

  • Residing or travelling to an endemic area

  • Excessive use of immunosuppressive drugs

Allergic

  • History of allergies

  • Asthma patients

Diagnosis of Fungal Infection

The method adopted to diagnose a fungal infection depends on the part of the body it affects. Here are some methods followed to diagnose a fungal infection:

Physical examination

The medical professional will examine the affected area, if external, to look for signs of a fungal infection. You will also be required to share information about any activities that have exposed you to the fungi. This may include travelling to an endemic location or being involved in a new outdoor activity, etc.

Lab tests

The doctor might look for signs of fungus in samples from the affected area. The samples might include nail clippings, skin, tissue, blood, phlegm, urine, eye secretions, or vaginal secretions. The samples are observed under a microscope and even put through a culture test to identify the type of fungal infection that is causing the symptoms.

Internal fungal infection tests

If the fungal infection has affected your brain, lungs, or any other internal organ, then the doctor might recommend imaging tests like CT Scan, X-Ray, or MRI Scan to identify areas that are infected.

Fungal Infection Treatment

The medical professional will treat a fungal infection based on two main factors:

1.The type of fungus causing the infection

2.The part of the body that is infected

Most fungal infections are treated with short-term treatment options like antifungal medicines and creams. However, serious infections can need surgery and longer treatments. Here are some treatment options for fungal infections:

Antifungal medicines

The doctor can prescribe antifungal medicines in various forms depending on the area that is infected. These include:

  • Pills

  • Intravenous medicine

  • Cream or powder

  • Eye drops

  • Shampoo

  • Lozenges

  • Surgery

For serious fungal infections, the doctor might recommend surgery to remove the infected mass or drain an abscess. This can help reduce the strain on your immune system and help the medicines fight off the infection efficiently.

Preventing Fungal Infections

There are many ways to prevent a fungal infection, as explained below:

  • Fungi tend to infect the skin if it is moist or damp. Hence, if you are sweaty after physical activity, then ensure you shower as soon as possible and wipe yourself clean.

  • Wear slippers while using a public bathroom or shower

  • Avoid wearing dirty underwear. Always prefer clean, dry, and preferably cotton underwear

  • Pay attention to oral hygiene

  • Clean your contact lenses as directed before every use

  • Maintain your nails and ensure that you cut and clean them regularly

  • Avoid the prolonged use of antibiotics unnecessarily

  • Do not share your towels or other personal items with other people

  • If you are working with soil, then ensure that you wear gloves, boots, and full clothes to avoid any potential contact with harmful fungi

  • If you are in an endemic area and working with soil, then wear a mask at all times

Why Buy a Medical Insurance Plan?

When the doctor diagnoses a fungal infection, he will immediately put you on antifungal medicines if the infection is not serious. However, for people with a weakened immune system and severe symptoms, the doctor might recommend the surgical removal of the infected mass. This would require immediate hospitalisation and surgery.

Without a health insurance plan, you will have to bear the costs of treatment. When you opt for a medical insurance plan from TATA AIG, you get a range of benefits, including**

Comprehensive coverage Buying a health insurance plan from Tata AIG offers you coverage for a wide range of medical expenses like diagnostic tests, consultation charges, hospitalisation costs, surgery costs, and post-hospitalisation expenses too. Hence, you can be assured of complete financial protection during medical emergencies.

Cashless claim settlement With cashless claim settlement, you can get treated at a network hospital without spending upfront. We offer a wide network of hospitals (7200+) and healthcare providers to help you get a cashless treatment for various diseases and ailments.

Copayment and Deductible The premium of a health insurance policy depends upon the sum insured and the overall risk assessment of the insured persons. If the policy you want is attracting a high premium, then you can opt for copayment or deductible to reduce the premium amount without compromising the coverage.

24/7 Customer Support Medical emergencies can happen at any time. Hence, we have put together a customer support team that works around the clock to help you with any queries regarding your policy, coverage, or cashless claims. This can help you get the answers you need without wasting time.

How to Buy Tata AIG Health Insurance?

Here is a quick look at the process to buy Tata AIG health insurance online:

  • Visit www.tataaig.com

  • Go to the Health Insurance Page

  • Choose an individual policy or select the family member that you want to include in it

  • Enter your contact details and the date of birth of all covered members

  • Click on “See Plans”

  • Go through the listed plans and select the best one based on your requirements

  • Choose the right sum insured to get maximum coverage without paying an extremely high premium

  • Click on ‘Buy Now’

  • We will call you to complete the buying process

Offline purchase:

  • Visit the nearest Tata AIG office

  • Provide details of your insurance requirements to your representative

  • Choose the best insurance plan from the options offered to you

  • Select the optimum sum insured

  • Fill out the required forms and attach the necessary documents

  • Pay the fees

Documents Needed to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan

Every health insurance policy offers financial coverage for medical emergencies against the payment of a premium. The insurance company determines the coverage and premium based on the assessment of your profile. This includes your demographics, health, income, and medical history.

While you are required to provide the necessary information in the application form, the insurer also needs documents that validate your statements. The documents needed can be different for different people; however, here is a common list that is applicable to all applicants**

Age Proof Aadhar Card, passport, etc.

Address Proof Utility bill, bank statement, etc.

Identity Proof PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.

Medical History Doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease

Other documents IT returns, proof of income, etc.

What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?

It is important to talk to a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms of a fungal infection. If left untreated, it can spread or become more serious or turn life-threatening too. For severe cases, surgery and hospitalisation are usually recommended by the doctor.

If you don’t have a health insurance policy, then you have to bear all the expenses by dipping into your savings or investments. Hence, it is important to buy a medical insurance plan that offers comprehensive coverage and covers a wide range of diseases and illnesses.

Here are some essential things to look for in a health insurance plan:

Sum Insured

The sum insured is the maximum coverage amount offered by the health insurance policy. The insurer will analyse the information provided at the time of application and determine the maximum sum that it will cover for medical emergencies.

If your treatment costs exceed the sum insured, then the additional amount has to be borne by you. Hence, make sure that you assess the coverage amount you need and look for a policy that offers an adequate sum insured at a reasonable premium rate.

Manage your premium costs

A health insurance premium is the amount you pay every year to receive coverage from the insurer. This is a recurring and non-refundable cost. Hence, make sure that you choose a plan with affordable premium rates.

However, if the policy you need to cover medical emergencies for your loved ones is being offered at a higher premium, look for insurers who offer options like copayment and voluntary deductible to reduce the premium without compromising the coverage.

Hospitals in your vicinity on the list of network hospitals

When a medical emergency strikes, most people rush to the nearest hospital. Depending on the type of emergency, moving the patient to another hospital is not always possible. Hence, when choosing an insurance company, look at the list of network hospitals and make sure that hospitals in your vicinity are on that list. Else, you might have to travel a longer distance during an emergency or end up getting treated at a non-network hospital.

Things to Remember When Filing a Claim for Fungal Infections

Make sure that you look at the claim settlement process and the claim settlement ratio of the insurer before buying a health insurance plan. Choose a provider with a high claim settlement ratio and a simple claims process to ensure that you get the financial assistance you need during emergencies. Claims are settled by insurers in two ways – cashless and reimbursement.

Here are the details:

1: Cashless claim settlement

When you opt for cashless claim settlement, you have to get treated at a network hospital. The insurance provider approves your cashless claim and pays the hospital directly. Hence, you don’t have to pay upfront and file a claim later. The insurance provider ensures that you get the treatment without paying anything up to the sum insured.

Keep these things in mind before applying for cashless claim settlement:

  • Inform the insurance provider at least five days in advance about the treatment that you plan to undergo and the hospital where you plan to get admitted. If it is a pre-planned treatment, then this is possible. Once the insurer receives the details, you will get an approval letter that can be used to claim cashless treatment at the network hospital.

  • If the treatment is not planned but is an emergency, then make sure that you get admitted to a network hospital and inform the insurance provider within 24 hours of being admitted.

02: Reimbursement claim settlement

Many insurers do not offer cashless claim settlements. Even if your insurer offers the facility, you might not have the time to reach a network hospital and get admitted to a non-network hospital. In such cases, you are required to pay for the hospitalisation and treatment upfront. Once you are discharged, you can file a reimbursement claim with the insurance provider.

Here are some things to remember for reimbursement claim settlement:

  • Make sure that you are aware of the reimbursement claim settlement process and the documents needed to file such a claim

  • Collect all the documents and submit them as per the specified process

  • File the claim as soon as you are discharged from the hospital

Here are some additional tips for fungal infection claims:

  • The health insurance policy should not have lapsed. Make sure that it is in force before getting admitted

  • Go through the policy documents and understand the scope, nature, and extent of the coverage offered by reading the list of inclusions, exclusions, and general terms and conditions

Health Insurance Tax Benefits

When you buy a health insurance policy, you get certain health insurance tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The premium paid towards health insurance can be deducted from your taxable income subject to certain limits.

Here are the health insurance tax deduction limits:

Policy for self (<60 years) and/or spouse, children ₹25,000
Policy for self (>60 years) and/or spouse, children ₹50,000
Policy for self (<60 years) and/or spouse, children +Separate policy for dependent parents (<60 years) ₹25,000 + ₹25,000 = ₹50,000
Policy for self (<60 years) and/or spouse, children + Separate policy for dependent parents (>60 years) ₹25,000 + ₹50,000 = ₹75,000
Policy for self (>60 years) and/or spouse, children + Separate policy for dependent parents (>60 years) 50,000 + ₹50,000 = ₹1,00,000
Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) ₹25,000 (<60 years) ₹50,000 (>60 years)
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) ₹25,000

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Q1. Can I get influenza from the flu shot?

Q1. Can I get influenza from the flu shot?

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The influenza flu shot contains inactivated influenza virus that helps your body create antibodies and build immunity against the virus. While you might experience mild side effects like soreness and a low-grade fever, you cannot get influenza from the vaccine.

Q2. Can I get influenza more than once a year?

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Yes, anyone can get influenza multiple times in a year. Numerous subtypes of the virus can result in newer strains. Hence, people can get infected multiple times during a year.

Q3. Are pre-existing conditions covered under influenza insurance in India?

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Every insurance provider has certain terms and conditions for pre-existing conditions. Hence, it is important to check with the provider about pre-existing conditions coverage before making the purchase.

Q4. How long does it take for an influenza insurance claim to be processed in India?

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If you are opting for a reimbursement claim, then the processing time can depend on many factors, including the processing speed of the insurer, ensuring that you have submitted all the required documents, etc. If all documents are in order, then you can usually get the claim processed within a week to ten days. Make sure that you check with your insurer before buying.

Q1. Can fungal infections be fatal?

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Any infection in the body, if left untreated, can create complications and increase in severity. Fungal infections are the same. If not treated in time, they can turn into severe infections and become fatal too.

Q2. Can fungal infections be cured completely?

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Yes, antifungal medicines can completely cure you of a fungal infection.

Q3. Are all types of fungal infections covered under health insurance?

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No, many insurance providers do not offer coverage for certain types of fungal infections. Therefore, it is important to go through the policy document carefully before signing the dotted line.

Q4. What is the waiting period for fungal infection insurance?

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The standard waiting period for fungal infections is around 30 days. During this period, you cannot file a claim for fungal infection treatments. However, the period might vary based on the insurer and your medical history. Hence, make sure that you check with the provider.

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