Thailand’s sunny climate and year-round summer are what bring many expats to seek jobs in the Land of Similes. However, the humidity, especially during the rainy season can cause and worsen skin conditions. Especially those suffering from skin issues such as acne, rashes, and eczema can find it tougher to manage those conditions in the hot and humid climate. With the right dermatological care, however, your skin conditions can be easily tamed.
Tourists and expats in Thailand usually prefer private healthcare facilities, where they can be assured the medical staff speak their language and the quality of care at an international level. These amenities, however, come with a higher price – especially if you need frequent consultations, medications, and creams. Ensuring your private health insurance in Thailand covers such care is, therefore, paramount.
Common skin problems in Thailand
Expats living in Thailand are exposed to certain skin conditions that are highly prevalent in tropical countries, such as different types of fungal infections, heat rashes, eczema, and acne, to name just a few. Here, we’ll look at these four common skin problems, advise what’s the best course of action to solve these issues, and discuss how private medical insurance in Thailand can help when it comes to skin problems.
Fungal infections are a major skin problem in tropical countries, as heat favors the growth of fungi. Fungal skin infections have many forms; some of the most common ones are athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections.
People with a weakened immune system may be more likely to contract a fungal infection, as well as anyone who is taking antibiotics, undergoes cancer treatment and has diabetes. If left untreated, some types of thrush can lead to life-threatening systemic infections, which affect the whole body, so it’s a safe approach to visit the doctor if you suspect you suffer from a fungal infection.
Heat rash affects roughly 30% of people living in hot and humid countries, as it occurs when the person’s sweat ducts are blocked. Those with this condition tend to experience itchy rashes, blisters, or tiny bumps on their skin. Excessive sweating and wearing non-breathable clothes can further aggravate the condition.
You can prevent heat rash by keeping your skin cool by wearing loose cotton clothing, spending time in air-conditioned rooms, and taking cool baths/showers. To calm and soothe the itchy or prickly rash, apply something cold (e.g. an ice pack), and the heat rash should disappear. However, if a rash sustains for over a few days, it’s a definite sign you need to see a doctor.
Eczema is a group of conditions that causes the skin to be red, itchy, and inflamed. Eczema is one of the most common causes of dry and sensitive skin. Thailand’s hot and humid climate can lead to excessive sweating, which can irritate and exacerbate the condition even more.
Swimming in chlorinated pools and using sun creams containing harmful chemicals, and even certain allergies, can also cause the condition to flare up. If the symptoms persist, a doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroid creams and ointments which come in different strengths, from mild over-the-counter (OTC) treatments to stronger prescription medicines.
Excessive sweating is common in hot and humid climates, which can easily trap dust and dirt within the skin’s pores, causing them to clog up. Hot temperatures can also cause the skin to create excess sebum, making the skin more oily and clogging the pores even more. This creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and cause an acne flare-up.
Severe acne can be treated in multiple ways, but it is definitely an ongoing process that may require different types of medication, creams, and dermatological visits to watch over its progress.
Private health insurance in Thailand and dermatological care
The best individual health insurance plans cover not only hospitalization, but also outpatient treatments such as dermatological ones. Most importantly, private insurance gives you access to private hospitals and clinics, where you can see the dermatologist faster (usually within two days) compared to longer waiting times common in public facilities.
Besides the time factor, the direct billing option is a useful feature usually included in the best private health insurance plans available in Thailand, and worldwide. Direct billing means that you won’t need to pay upfront within the insurer’s network of providers, and not wait weeks or even months to get your claim reimbursed.
Terms and conditions
If you already have a skin condition before starting a private health insurance plan in Thailand, you’ll likely find coverage for your condition falling into a pre-existing condition exclusion. International health insurance providers are typically more lenient towards applicants with pre-existing conditions; some will offer the coverage as long as you agree to a waiting period or pay an extra premium.
Besides, health insurance plans only cover care that is “medically necessary”, so dermatological treatments that are cosmetic in nature (e.g. botox, chemical peels) will in all cases be excluded from individual or family health plans.
In the end, every policy is different: benefits and limits vary drastically between plans even from the same insurers, so it’s crucial to read the fine print before purchasing private health insurance in Thailand or engage the help of professional advisors, such as those from Pacific Prime Thailand to help you choose the best private health insurance based on your needs and budget.