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Medical Issues during China Trip

All situations requiring medical attention will be handled at local facilities and medical service, at the guest's expense. Generally, a tour company will not be responsible for the quality of medical care guests received on the tour.

All visitors entering China are required to complete a health declaration card that is distributed by the cabin crew during the flight to China. Officially, China does not issue entry visas to HIV carriers.

Foreign travelers shall be required to show Chinese quarantine authorities the "Traveler's Health Declaration Card" when entering the country. For travelers who are not coming from regions of infectious diseases including cholera and yellow fever, they will not be required to take inoculation of vaccines. For foreigners planning to stay in China for six months or longer, they shall be required to show the documentation proving they are negative for the HIV.

Personal Medical History - If you have any health problems, ask your doctor for a copy of your medical history should you need to consult a Chinese doctor. This information should include your name, address, insurance data, emergency contact, blood type, medical problems and prior hospitalizations, current medications (generic names) and dosages, drug allergies, and immunizations (with dates).

Caution: Chinese people do not have Rh-negative blood, and therefore their blood banks do not store it. Also, type O blood is rare. Thus, persons with these blood types should consult their physician for advice before departing for China.

Prescription Drugs - You may bring your prescription drugs to China. Pack them in your carry-on luggage. Be sure that the medication is clearly marked with a pharmacy label and doctor's instructions. Try to anticipate what you will need and bring an adequate supply for your entire tour. Since brand names in China are different from those used in North America, ask your doctor or pharmacist for the generic name for your prescription drug in case you need a refill while in China.

Medical Care - Generally, all hotels on tour itineraries maintain a medical clinic staffed by a doctor during the day. There is a nominal charge for the doctor's services.

The most common maladies afflicting travelers in China are respiratory problems such as head colds, bronchial conditions, and sore throats. Diarrhea and constipation are also common. If you are prone to any of these problems, you should bring appropriate medications with you. However, if you forget to bring them with you, our Regent guides will be glad to provide you with Chinese herbal medicines for these common problems at no charge to tour group members.

Even though most Western medicines are available in China, we strongly suggest that you bring common nonprescription medicine with you-e.g., aspirin, cold relief products, anti-diarrheas, laxatives, etc. If you have insurance coverage for medical expenses and require medicines or medical attention while abroad, keep all receipts since most insurance carriers honor claims for such expenses. Note, however, that Medicare does not cover health care costs outside the U.S.

Emergencies - Should you become ill and require hospitalization, medical attention is available for emergencies throughout China. In most Chinese large cities, there are ambulances with sophisticated medical equipment and ambulance personnel are well trained. Major hospitals have special wards reserved exclusively for foreigners. Both Western and Chinese medicines are available. Chinese physicians are well trained--many Chinese physicians attended U.S. medical schools and earned their internships at U.S. medical facilities--and their diagnostic techniques are sophisticated, time-honored, and judicious.

Small cities won't have such efficient ambulance services, but there are emergency centers in most small cities. In order to get medical help in these small cities, it is advisable for the injured or seriously ill to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive.

Rural areas are equipped with better medical facilities nowadays and more medical school college students go to work in the rural area. Services have improved dramatically over the last two decades; however local rural medical staff will still advise you to get treatment from a higher level hospital, partly for technical problems and partly for safety issues.

International medical centers, foreign-operated medical providers catering to expatriates and travelers, like International Medical Center and International SOS Assistance, are available. Doctors and nurses are at least proficient in English and often other languages as well. Their services are usually considerably more expensive than hospitals and clinics operated by local government health authorities.

SOS International, Ltd., operates clinics and provides medical evacuation and medical escort services in several Chinese cities. For medical emergencies anywhere on the Chinese mainland, call SOS International Ltd's, 24-hour "Alarm Center" in Beijing at (86-10) 64629100(English) or in Shanghai at (86-21) 62950099 for advice and referrals to local facilities.

Dental Care - Get a dental check-up prior to your trip. No one wants to endure a toothache while on vacation (especially on an airplane where cabin pressure can cause severe pain). Take precautions by bringing dental necessities.

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