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Health in China
This page offers general advice regarding Health Issues in China (September 2008)
In China, you are personally responsible for paying your medical bills. Please ensure you have valid adequate medical insurance, or cash to pay for treatment, including Emergency
Introduction:

Chinese hospitals are very modern and rate amongst the best in the World. Treatment is usually Western, although there are always Traditional Chinese alternatives

In Main Western hospitals, you will probably need to have a Mandarin speaker with you, and your means of payment will be assessed when booking-in, and before you are offered any services, exceptions

Hospitals:

Public Hospitals
These are very equivalent to modern Western Hospitals, and offer the fullest range of services. You should normally equate your status as being a Private Patient

Private Hospitals:
These are very common, and for the meagre price differential, offer Westerners exceptional services. Usually they are informal, and have some English speaking staff and Doctors.

They also provide excellent treatment - a small example being injections. These are normally done via an intravenous drip, rather than a single and general blast into an indeterminate muscle. I will let you work out the differences for yourself, just know it works excellently!

Chinese Medicine:
All hospitals will offer Traditional Chinese remedies, although Private Hospitals are better, and Specialist Centres the best (And most expensive). Every City will have at least one State administered Traditional Chinese Hospital, and often several

Minor Ailments:

Most local Hospitals and street pharmacies will be able to offer you simple, inexpensive, and excellent cures for the majority of common maladies. These include: Cuts and Burns, Bites, Stomach ailments, and persistent coughs

Local Traditional Cures:


Your local Chinese supermarket or specialist street shop will also offer Traditional remedies in a range of pre-prepared packets - which you cook like a soup for several hours, and drink. They usually taste awful, and work exceptionally well. These are now the only remedies I use for minor ailments

Local specialist shops will also offer personal Traditional diagnosis and remedies. Most are excellent, some are rip-off, seek local advice, or use your initiative...

What doesn't Work in China:

Imported Western cures for Diahorrea are doomed to failure. We have tried them all over the years, and have to admit these minor bugs are different. Pay pennies in a local pharmacy for something that works instantly!

Health Concerns:

As a generalised guideline, health treatments in China either rival or exceed Western equivalents. In particular, alternative therapy is approved and included/optional as a matter of course

Specifics for Westerners:

Jabs:
China does not have a vaccination entry policy, so choose your jabs wisely:
1. Cholera is not a problem in China. If you have this vaccination you will suffer for weeks or months afterwards
2. Malaria. This is another generalised fiction, although recommended in some parts of South China. We say no, as the mossies you meet are far more likely to be carrying either Japanese Encephalitis or Dengue Fever - and you won't meet them either
3. Bird flu. This is a conundrum, and a very few people do die from it. There is some vaccine, and I eat rare bird meat almost daily. I think this disease has an unknown human disposition for incubation
4. SARS is virtually sorted now
5. China does have a largely unspecified AIDS problem. This is being addressed emphatically by Central Government - yet on the streets people still love to have unprotected sex ... and you could also consider why China is by far the most populous Country on this planet? ... I will leave this to your imagination, and simply urge you to always wear a condom

Otherwise, just be sensible in China - and whilst you won't die from drinking City tap water, you should only use it to brush your teeth unless boiled.

Most Chinese bugs are relatively harmless, but like the Diahorrea one, Western bodies do not know how to deal with them effectively = a Western 3-year-old having their first ever cold - far worse than it really is
Alternative Medicines and Practices:

China is actually home to virtually all alternative therapies. Many Traditional cures and Doctors are in fact Kung Fu Specialist Masters of Medicine. Here is an overlap we do not have in the West

Included in this are diverse categories such as Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicines, Feng Shui, and Chinese Teas
This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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