HEALTH, DISEASES, MEDICAL CARE Medical care of any type in our country is free of charge, although there are now many private doctors. We don't pay for prescription or for some medicines. But for other medicines, especially for those from abroad, we must pay. For a long time the state has been looking after each of its citizens - even before birth - under the scheme called Mother and Child Care. There are medical check-ups before the child is born and maternity ward services. As to financial help after giving births mothers get benefits for three years after the birth of a child. For the first 26 weeks she gets 90 per cent of her pay and for the rest of her maternity leave she gets fewer benefits. Then comes medical and social care during the pre-school and school age, up to old age. The term "free medical care" includes any type of medical treatment - from seeing your doctor because of common cold to the most complicated operation. The Health insurance system is undergoing some changes at present. Employers pay health insurance for their employees but everybody can pay extra money for his/her health insurance. Private people must buy their health insurance themselves. If we fall ill or if we have an accident, we go to the Health Centre, Policlinic, Hospital or to some Private Doctor. Many factories and offices have their own doctors. To improve the situation and promote the competition we can choose our doctors now. There are various types of physicians who treat various diseases and disorders. They are e g. GP (general practitioners), dentists, surgeons, interns, oculists, paediatricians, gynaecologists, psychiatrists, dermatologists, ear and throat specialists, orthopaedic specialists etc. Illnesses can be classified as light, heavy, fatal ones, infectious, short or long ones, injuries as light, heavy, serious, lethal ones etc. However it's impossible to qualify everything as illness, sickness or disease. In case of light disorders or ailments we usually say: I feel unwell, I feel seedy or dizzy, I feel sick, I have a headache, I have a cold etc. We cannot underrate any kind of illness. A patient getting over a feverish sickness without taking to ( staying in ) bed takes a risk, as it usually leaves traces sometimes very dangerous ones. Each person should undergo a regular check-up at last once a year. However we usually go to see our doctor when we don t feel well or have a temperature. There are various types of medical treatment for our different types of troubles. Doctor may ask you to strip to the waist before he/she examines your chest and throat. They check our blood pressure, feel the pulse or put our blood or urine through lab-tests to take for example a blood count. They look down our throat, see our tongue and listen to our heart and lungs. Sometimes they may X-ray our lungs or bones. We must go through many types of vaccination during our lives. Dentists may check our teeth and sometimes pull out one of them or drill and fill them. For older people they sometimes fit bridges on their teeth or make dentures. Doctors usually prescribe some medicines to us - pills, antibiotics, gargling, eyewash, sleeping pills, ointments or they tell us to go on a diet. After operations, scars remain on our bodies. We can suffer from various illnesses beginning with common children diseases such as: chicken-pox, mumps, measles, scarlet fever, otitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, which are a scourge for children of kindergarten and school age. But owing to vaccination and hygiene, diseases like diphtheria, measles, infantile paralysis, hepatitis aren't a serious danger for them any more. We usually suffer from common infections such as cold, flu (influenza), tonsillitis, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation. Thanks to new and effective medicaments like various kinds of antibiotics even these feverish diseases are no more dangerous to life. A patient usually has to stay in bed, drink warm tea with lemon and honey, perspire, take pills, drops or vitamins, test his temperature and sleep as much as possible. However the situation may sometimes be more serious and needs special treatment in hospital, e.g. heart attack, appendicitis, breaking an arm or leg, animal or snake bite, severe bleeding, poisoning, unconsciousness or in case of some real dangerous diseases such as tuberculosis, anaemia, pneumonia, leukaemia, diabetes, hepatitis etc. The doctors care must be very attentive because human life is in danger. It is the same with all possible operations and surgical interferences. The biggest threat are insidious diseases like cancer or encephalitis whose virus is transferred by ticks. The last world threat is AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) which cannot be cured. One must protect himself from such a disease by increased caution and by observing hygienic laws and advice. There are also many other problems which do not help avoid or prevent health problems (e.g. extreme poverty of many people all around the world, large sums of money put toward armament instead of health insurance, the human environment is spoiled, we do not live in balance with nature). The best way to keep one s health is prevention, which is better than cure. In other words, the best way to cure yourself of a disease is not to catch it. We should try to live a healthy way of life, which means we should have a good proportion of work to leisure time, between our sleep and the time up, to keep our mental state in order. We should practise sports, at least swim or go for walks, we should not smoke, drink too much alcohol, become drug addicts or change our intimate friends too often. Generally speaking we should lead such a way of life to keep our mind and body in a perfect state and balance. Public health education plays its role especially among children and young people, e.g. prize contest competitions in knowledge of the first aid (every driver should know the contents of his box of first aid), swimming courses etc.