If you’ve got China planned on your bucket list, this could actually be one of the most important articles you ever read. Even after taking Mandarin lessons for a couple of years and living in China for four years, when it came to asking a pharmacist for some basic medicine I was always shocked at hard this process was. Firstly, many don’t speak English, especially in the rural areas, and secondly, this kind of language just isn’t on everyone’s list when studying – “where’s the toilet?” maybe, but “My nose is really runny because of the pollen and pollution?” Yep. Good luck with that one. You’re more likely to get a no response, or if you’re lucky maybe a response more along the lines of ‘go to the hospital’ because they won’t want to diagnose a westerner.
So I put this guide together because one of the most daunting things about China is actually not being able to read the signs and labels, and no-one wants to be putting something drug-related into their mouth when they can’t read the packaging.
And yes, I know, this post is not overly stylish or inspirational, but it’s really, really useful!! Share it with any of your friends who you know are travelling to China!
If you think you need to see a doctor or might need a prescription, don’t hesitate to see a healthcare provider. You can find a full list HERE. There are actually heaps of western expat doctors around. Your local hotel should be able to help you or you can look up a list of general practitioners. But if you think all you need is some self-medicating relief, these should help some of the most common types of basic illnesses that occur when you’re on the road.
These are all very safe, and exactly the same as their western counterparts you’d find in your local pharmacy back home.
This article was first published by myself as the original author for Shanghai Family Magazine. All copyright reserved to Shanghai Family.