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Avoid bug bites on vacation with these TRICARE tips

According to the EPA, using the right insect repellent can discourage mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects from landing on you and biting you According to the EPA, using the right insect repellent can discourage mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects from landing on you and biting you.

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It’s common to see an increase of bugs in the summer months, which can be annoying. But more than that, some bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks, carry harmful diseases. If you’re traveling to areas where they may be a higher chance of getting malaria from mosquitoes or tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, take steps to avoid these bugs and others. And learn what your TRICARE benefit covers should you run into creepy crawlers and flying pests this summer.

When preparing for a trip, here’s what you should do before you go:

  • Check your destination for health risks: On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, you can select your destination to find health information.
  • Bug-proof yourself: The CDC recommends visiting your doctor at least a month before your trip to get any vaccines or medicines that you may need. A yellow fever vaccine is available for travelers, but not one for tick-borne diseases. TRICARE covers age-appropriate vaccines recommended by the CDC. There may be other CDC-recommended vaccines depending on your travel plans. However, TRICARE may not cover these vaccines. Confirm that your routine vaccines are up to date, especially before traveling overseas.
  • Learn your benefit: You can use your TRICARE benefit while traveling. Coverage depends on your plan, your destination, and the purpose for your travel. Remember you must follow your plan’s rules for getting urgent care. If you receive emergency care while traveling, keep all receipts in case you need to file a claim later. If you need health care advice, you can contact the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line 24/7 if traveling in the U.S. or a country with an established military hospital or clinic.
  • Schedule routine care: Make sure you and your family get routine care covered by your benefit before you leave. And fill any prescriptions you may need while traveling ahead of time. If you need to fill a prescription while overseas, go to a military pharmacy if one is nearby, or a retail pharmacy. For a retail pharmacy, you may have to pay for the total amount first and then file a claim for reimbursement.

During your trip, follow these tips to help prevent bug bites:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent: According to the EPA, using the right insect repellent can discourage mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects from landing on you and biting you.
  • Apply protection: If you’re using sunscreen, apply it first, let it dry, and then apply insect repellent.
  • Wear protective clothes: As much as possible, wear long pants and sleeves.
  • Avoid bug bites when sleeping: Sleep in places that are air conditioned or screened against bugs.

It’s Bug Week at the Military Health System. Learn more about the risks of bug-borne diseases and preventive measures to follow to take command of your health. And learn more about what your TRICARE benefit covers.

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