Travel Tips

Health

Immunizations

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people visiting a major city in China like Beijing have hepatitis A and B vaccinations. If you are also traveling to rural areas the CDC also recommends being vaccinated for: Japanese encepahlitis, malaria, rabies, typhoid and getting boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles if needed. These vaccinations are recommended, but not required. You should discuss your specific health needs with your physician before departure.

China does not require proof of vaccinations for entry to the country. People who have various communicable diseases such as AIDS, syphilis, tuberculosis and leprosy or some mental disorders may not be allowed to enter China.

Hygiene

Because the hygiene of workers handling food is not always perfect, the US Center for Disease Control recommends travelers to China get hepatitis A and B vaccinations.

During the Summer Olympics in 2008, Beijing cracked down on hygiene issues, banning spitting, and discouraging public smoking. Taxi drivers were barred from smoking in their vehicles. The Beijing Health Bureau also sent multitudes of food inspectors to restaurants and food outlets in unscheduled visits to rate their hygiene and food handling safety from A (excellent) to D (not qualified), those getting Ds had to improve their standards or face being shut down. Since the Olympics the vigilance on these issues has relaxed.

(Medical)

Emergency Medical Service

Ambulances in China do not carry the same equipment that is required in the US. Many times if you are injured and need to get to a hospital you have to take a taxi. SOS International. Ltd. has a medical facility in Beijing that operates 24 hours a day and offers emergency medical services and regular doctors services.

Medical Facilities

Many hospitals in China do not accept medical insurance from the US. There are BlueCross BlueShield providers at the following hospitals:

  • Beijing United Family Hospital
  • Beijing Friendship Hospital
  • International Medical Center in Beijing
  • Peking Union Medical Center

These hospitals often have a VIP ward where the doctors and nurses speak English and they have modern and state of the art equipment. Foreigners re often required to post a deposit before being seen by a physician, many hospitals and medical clinics accept credit cards.

Medications

Many medications that are commonly prescribed in the US are not available in China. Bring enough medication with you to last your trip with extra in case of a delay in getting home. Take a copy of your written prescription to show that they are for your personal use. Some other medications, such as antibiotics, that would be by prescription in North America may be available over the counter in China. Medications in China with the same name as those in western countries may not have the same ingredients.

Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a form of medical care that has been used in China and other parts of Asia for 5,000 years and is still widely used and respected today. Practitioners refer to the meridians of the body: interconnected channels of energy or “qi”, and use a variety of approaches to correct imbalances in the energy flow. TCM includes herbal medicine, acupuncture and acupressure, dietary therapy, Shiatsu massage and Qigong. TCM is becoming increasingly popular in western countries especially for treating chronic conditions and allergies or for avoiding the side affects that can occur with some western pharmaceutical medicines and treatments.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at Beijing University is a good place to learn more about the history and practices of TCM.