Tired of waking up with a drippy nose? Sick of getting itchy eyes? We hear you! Allergies are some of the most frustrating things to live with – especially when otherwise you feel like you’re in the pink of health. The team at Pacific Prime Singapore, tells us more about different types of allergies and how we can deal with them – including getting health insurance cover for them.
What exactly is an allergy?
According to Allergy UK, an allergy is the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances including pollen, food and dust mites. They occur when an individual’s immune system identifies the substance as a “threat”.
- Pollen from trees and grass
- Proteins secreted by dust mites
- Foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs
- Fur from animals such as cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
- Insects such as wasps and bees
- Certain medication
- Wheezing, coughing or a shortness of breath
- Nettle rash or hives
- Sinus or a runny nose
- Itchy eyes, ears, lips, throat or mouth
- Sickness, vomiting and diarrhoea
If you suspect that you or someone you know suffers from allergies, consult a doctor for more information. Physicians and GPs can perform tests to see how your body reacts to certain allergens and identify the cause.
Allergies in Singapore
In Singapore, approximately one in three people suffer from nasal allergy symptoms. A 2013 study by The Straits Times found that increasing numbers of people are experiencing conditions such as early-morning sniffles, a runny or blocked nose, and other symptoms.
Common allergens in Singapore:
- Dust mites: Due to Singapore’s warm and humid weather, these are common causes of asthma in children and adults. In 2014, 80% of 8,000 surveyed Singaporeans had an allergic reaction to house dust mites.
- Shellfish: With large amounts of these foods being eaten in Singapore each year, this is the most common food-related allergy in Singapore; it’s also the most common cause of food anaphylaxis in adults.
- Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS): GOS is a prebiotic found in most milk formulas in Asia, Europe and the USA, which can cause anaphylaxis; it’s a new phenomenon unique to Singapore and the region.
- Peanuts: Hypersensitivity to peanuts is highly prevalent in Singapore and has been on the rise. It was found that nearly one-third of all food allergy patients at Singapore’s KK Hospital were allergic to peanuts.
Being aware of the causes and symptoms of allergies is just the first step. Ensure your health and wellbeing by seeking out the medical care you need.
Staying away from allergens you’re sensitive to is a common sense approach. Coeliacs will avoid gluten products, while those with shellfish allergies steer clear of seafood. Of course, some allergens may be difficult to avoid.
Hayfever sufferers and many other allergies can be relieved by the use of antihistamines. These block the histamines that cause allergic reactions and provide protection for a period of time. People with nasal allergies can use decongestants (oral or nasal sprays). Allergy shots are also helpful.
Covering allergies with health insurance
It’s important to secure comprehensive health insurance in Singapore as seeking treatment for allergies is often be expensive. A treatment for severe allergic rhinitis resulting in hospitalisation can cost up to $6,964 at a private hospital, while admission for an asthmatic attack could be as high as $9,867. If your allergies are severe or occur frequently, the costs add up.
Many insurers consider allergies to be pre-existing conditions that are typically not covered. However, allergies that develop after you purchase a plan can still be covered. If you just developed an allergy but would still like to secure insurance, some insurers may offer coverage for a higher premium or a rider policy. If you’re expecting, consider a family health plan to ensure that your child will covered for allergies they could develop in their early years.
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Read on for some helpful tips on choosing a health insurance plan.