Being Sick in China

Teaching Sick in China

Illness in China

Illness in China




Almost like clockwork, about three weeks after a new teacher arrives in China, he gets a bout “Welcome to China” illness.  It feels like a mixture of a cold, the flu and being beat in as a member of a street gang.

The typical remedy is going to the hospital once or twice a day for a session of IVs that can last up to three hours.  When I first arrived in China, I became ill just before our long weekend classes. I was teaching all weekend and getting IV sessions before and after the teaching day. It was pretty miserable, but it went away after a few days.

IV therapy is used to treat common illness in China.

IV therapy is used to treat common illness in China.

The Chinese, more for cultural than medical reasons, make extensive use of IV therapy. There are huge rooms filled with walk-in IV patients. In the west, they would have picked up some pills on the way home from the doctor’s office.

I prefer the convenience of the pills. However, the IVs do work quickly to kick start the healing.

Chinese Medicine used for illness

Chinese Medicine

Before coming to China, you should have a supply of prescribed and OTC, (Over the counter medicine) to take with you. Unlike the United States, antibiotics are available OTC.  You can go into a drugstore and find antibiotics, there will be an English description of the product on the label too, (see photo below).

antibiotic label for illness

antibiotic label

An online Chinese-English  medical dictionary like Drdict can also be invaluable.

When it comes to antibiotics, try to find out what you have taken that worked before you come to China. You do not want to be fighting an illness and a reaction to the medicine at the same time.