Medical Issues in China
The most important thing you can do when planning and enjoying an international trip is to see to your health and safety needs. If you get ill, you will not be productive on business and you certainly will not have fun if you are on vacation. The information below will help you to prepare for and have a safe and healthy trip.
Major Health Risks
If you Get ill...
Well in advance of your departure date, it is important to check your medical records to assure you are current with your shots and vaccinations. Business travellers can often go to their company's medical facilities. Others will need to visit their medical practitioner. DO NOT skip this step. Among the common, easily avoidable ailments are Hepatitis and Tetanus.
Also remember to consider whether that dental visit you have been delaying should be made before you go.
It is also important to visit well before your trip as some vaccines will require several weeks before they effectively protect you and some require two doses over a period of time.
There are several medicinal supplies items to consider taking along. On your trip, you will find most over the counter items, they will most likely not be the brand you normally use. And, just searching for the item you need can prove to be quite the journey, especially if you need it in a hurry. You do not need to bring your entire medicine chest. But, you want to have the items you frequently use most and some of the ones to cover common maladies incurred during travel.
TIP: Try not to bring a whole bottle. Taking a few individually wrapped and marked items should be sufficient and also will minimize space in your suitcase.
Among the items to should consider:
Immodium: A frequently used item which many people find a necessity in international travel when strange foods and something in the water can cause adverse affects.
Antacids: Upset stomachs can afflict you even if you have never experienced one before.
Bandaids: A small assortment is all you should need for quick use.
Antiseptics: Strongly recommended to fight those pesky bacteria that your body may not readily recognize.
Aspirin: If you normally do not use them, bring a few. If you use some, bring many.
Allergy and Anti-Histamines: Like aspirin, bring a few or many...But bring some.
If you have a prescription drug which is essential for your health, bring it in your carry-on luggage.
In general, you should not have trouble carrying your prescription drugs, especially common ones. If you have one you suspect to be controversial or a controlled substance, contact the customs department of your country or embassy. When in doubt, ask.
If you get ill during your trip:
There is no place better than home when you are ill. But if you or a companion does get ill, don't panic. Medical services are available.The larger cities will have hospital facilities. The larger the city the more and better the health care facilities.
If an illness or injury is serious or has the potential to become serious, consider evacuation to Hong Kong without any hesitation. Hong Kong's facilities and quality of care is many times better than those in China.
You can obtain information on or contact medical assistance through a number of common sense avenues:
Business associates in country
Your country's embassy. It is always wise to have your embassy number in your purse or wallet.
For more information on Medical Services, see China- Consular Information Sheet.
Major Health Risks:
Virtually every country in the world has potential health concerns for travellers. Some are more serious than others. The term "accordingly" is a relevant one. For Food and Drink , it is more a matter of common sense, especially if this is your first visit. In other cases, you may have less control. Listed below are some of the major things to be aware of for the PRC and be alert to.
AIDS: Exists in China and every country in the world. The things to avoid are well known. The blood supply is not as safe.
Bronchial and Sinus ailments: High rates in cities with highest air pollution rates, especially Beijing and Shanghai.
Cholera: Notably present in Western China
Hepatitis A and B: Mostly commonly due to less than ideal food storage, handling and cooking.
Malaria: Mostly in more southern regions and away from cities.
Polio: A one time booster dose is recommended if you have not had one.
High Altitude Sickness: In Tibet, no different than any other mountainous area. Symptoms are temporary and go away as soon as the victim returns to a lower altitude.
Rabies: Rabid dogs are a problem.
Typhoid: Consider a vaccination for long stays and if you are an adventurous eater.
Numerous others exist, but not in abnormally high or epidemic proportions
Tips on how to prepare for a China trip