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Traveling to China: Health Concerns & Medical Needs

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Vaccinations:

While no vaccinations are required for a trip to China (except for Yellow Fever if you're arriving from an infected area), it is recommended that you see your physician and preferably a doctor at a travel medicine clinic at least 4-6 weeks before you are scheduled to depart. There are some recommended vaccines and it's important that you take the necessary precautions and be up-to-date on your routine vaccines.

Read all about the recommended vaccines.

Infectious Disease Reference:


Disease outbreaks such as SARS and Avian Flu have been concerns for China in the past few years. To understand more about these, and whether or not they are a threat to you during your trip to Asia, here are some good resources for travelers.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) SARS site
  • Article on SARS.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site about Avian Flu
  • What to Do in an Emergency:


    It is very unlikely you'll need to contact your embassy for a medical emergency. But it's good to have the contact details on hand along with their holiday schedule so you'll know what to do in an extreme case.

    Water and Food Safety:


    It goes without saying you should be careful with food and water. Only drink bottled water and use it to brush your teeth. Your hotel will provide several bottles a day free of charge.

    If you have an extremely sensitive stomach, then you may want to avoid raw vegetables. Peeled fruit and cooked food should cause you no problem. It's always best to take in your surroundings - if the restaurant is crowded (especially with locals) then the food is going to be fresh. If you stumble into a small place in the countryside and no one else is there, think twice. Read more about Water and Food Safety in China.

    Basic Tips and Precautions:

    While many familiar drugs are available in China, navigating the language and communicating the need may not be something you have time for in an emergency. It's best to pack a few precautionary items with you, especially for minor illnesses and complaints. For a more thorough list, see First Aid Packing List for Travelers to China.

    • Bandaids
    • Antibacterial ointment
    • Headache medicine
    • Something for an upset stomach or diarrhea
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Insect repellent
    • Allergy medication
    • Cold medicine
    • Sunscreen

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