‘I feel weak’ ‘I am soo drained’ ‘I have a dodgy stomach’ ‘I think I ate something bad’ ‘I need the day off’ ‘Which one do I buy?’
These are the many thoughts and feelings many other foreigners have had including myself whilst living in a foreign country (way before the new coronavirus pandemic) and it is not always straight forward to find an easy way of knowing what medicine you need for whatever illness you have!
In a place as huge and unknown as China we foreigners are immersed into a fascinating culture and uniquely enjoyable lifestyle we have most likely never experienced once we have arrived which makes us forget that we will all at one point get prone to being unwell.
But fear not as fortunately China has many different types of medicines that are available in the pharmacies or drug stores as its known there, that end up blending Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and western medicine or even one or the other as separate.
With soo much choice on the shelves it can be daunting to know what to ask for without the language barrier getting in the way whilst feeling in the dumps so here are a few suggestions of what to go for! (Bear in mind you might receive some complementary eggs as a custom there.)
The popular and heavily stocked go-to sachet box to help with any type of cold and flu you may be feeling is thankfully called ‘999’ or in Chinese Mandarin ‘Sānjiǔ’ which literally means three nines. This is a herbal western blend of medicine taken at least three times a day and leaves a sweet yet burnt herbal taste in your mouth which is certainly more bearable than some other unconventional tastes.
The ingredients are an intriguing mix that includes things like the herbal chrysanthemum, marigold and the western acetaminophen (similar to paracetamol).
Speaking of which, in relation to painkillers, for instances paracetamol it is not widely available in China yet there is the well known Ibuprofen if in serious need of a painkiller but if you had a headache a nice cup of Chinese tea can work wonders!
There maybe occasions where you could end up with the rare bacterial infection such a food poisoning or bronchitis on your adventure and would need to turn to the doctors or a contact from the school who will advise you on this but however; antibiotics in China can be readily available over the counter without the need for a prescription! This is all remarkable and an easy grab but try not to overuse this accessibility as it could not work for your benefit in the long run. So the best advice would be better to keep drinking hot water as they say in China.
Some good news on more of a side note for any sufferers of skin conditions such as eczema where western medicine may not have resolved anything there is a miracle herbal cream that works wonders for many. With a complex array of natural plant ingredients such as Golden Larch Bark and Sophora flavescens amongst others showing a nice change from acid based western ones.
Of course these are all precautions and advice and it could be that you have a very strong immune system of steel yet it can be a useful reference to know that there are plenty of good options for when the time comes and you require some R&R as we all do.
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