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How to Survive an Insect-Filled Vacation Abroad

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How to Survive an Insect-Filled Vacation Abroad

Dear Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group:

There's something about yurts that intrigue me. So when I had the chance to stay in one while traveling in Malaysia, I jumped at the chance. As for the insect coil that's lit at bedtime, I thought it was merely for ambiance. Then, sometime in the middle of the night, I awoke, feeling as if my body was on fire. I was being eaten alive by insects. Literally.

I did what any traveler would do. I popped as many antihistamines as the bottle said were allowed, and then slathered a topical antihistamine on the bites themselves. When I started getting tired, I attributed the fatigue to the antihistamines. Yes, they had made me feel sleepy, yet this felt different than any drowsiness I'd experienced from the medication in the past. A warning bell went off in my head. Get thee to an emergency room!

mosquito zika virus

When I arrived at the tiny medical center out in the jungle, I suggested to the doctor on call that I might have been bitten by something that carries some form of disease. After a few questions, I was presented with this one: Looks like you used a topical antihistamine. Did you happen to take an oral one as well?

I sure did! Two, in fact. Hadn't I followed common sense protocol? Apparently not. The doctor's words were a shock: “You've overdosed on antihistamines." What?! I had no clue combining both the topical and oral medication would lead to this result. When I thought about it, though, it did make sense.

So, I'm writing you about two things. Yes, I need to file a claim for the hospital visit during my travels. Before I do, though, I thought I should clarify whether this incident will actually be covered. I can't be the only person this has ever happened to... right?

As always, many thanks for your assistance and advice.


The Accident-Prone Tourist

P.S. Loved the yurt- so recommend staying in one when you get the chance. Here's some advice from me to you: in lieu of topical antihistamine, applying scotch tape to mosquito bites (or toothpaste) seems to bring some relief. I suppose bug spray might be the wisest starting point…


Dear Accident-Prone Tourist,

Traveling with a body covered by insect bites is uncomfortable to say the least. Here in the office, we're all scratching in sympathy for you.

We see that you purchased one of our travel medical insurance plans. Definitely a smart move on your part. Both our Atlas Travel and Atlas Premium plans cover emergency room visits.

Malaysia is one of the 130 countries and territories worldwide where Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group maintains relationships with hospitals and doctors. In fact, we can help you locate the appropriate healthcare professional while traveling internationally. Simply phone us at 1-800-605-2282 or 1-317-262-2132.

If your medical issue is less pressing than an emergency might be, you can also access Equian International, our international provider network, online at equian.com. Simply fill in the country, city, and type of healthcare provider required, along with language, gender, and service criteria, and nearby healthcare experts/facility recommendations will appear onscreen.

As for whether your particular situation would be covered, claims are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Feel free to give us a call for further clarification- or if you have additional questions- at 1-800-605-2282.


Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group Representative

P.S. Tom, in our office, is a fan of yurt stays. He suggests mosquito netting for bite-free slumbers.

Don't forget to pack the Ultimate Guide to International Travel. Download now!


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Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group international insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd’s. Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd’s underwriting members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.