It’s inevitable; there comes the season (every couple of months it seems) when there is coughing and sneezing all around you, and you are just waiting for your turn. Which always comes; mind you, germs are everything but scarce here in China. Away from your usual bowl of Campbell soup, what are you to do in those circumstances?
1. Go to the nearest pharmacy: you will be offered a choice of western and Chinese medicine, but don’t forget to bring your passport for anything more serious (like a semi-forte painkiller, or your general antibiotic). OTC drugs in China are not impressive and for anything serious, you’ll have to go to the hospital.
2. Going to a Chinese hospital is no fun; you’ll encounter lines and lines of people, and a guaranteed amount of chaos. The first thing to do once you arrive is to 挂号 GuàHào or register to get your waiting number, then sit down and get ready to wait. What is strange about this hospital experience is that even for the mildest of colds, you can get an IV with antibiotics and other goodies which should get you back on your feet in no time. Remember, if you are in China for work, you won’t have a lot of paid leave. Also, make sure to bring cash – even if you are insured, you won’t be covered much, since most of the expenditure is always covered by the patient.
3. Also, you know how in China during lunch/dinner time people ask you 你吃饭了吗？ Nǐ ChīFàn Le Ma? “Have you eaten?” – they are not actually inquiring about the contents of your lunch, it’s more like a “How are you” type of a thing – well, when you’re sick people will undoubtedly ask you: 你吃药了吗？Nǐ Chī Yào Le Ma? “Have you taken/eaten medicine? This will surely be followed by two pieces of advice: 多休息 Duō XiūXi “Rest more” and 多喝水 Duō Hē Shuǐ “Drink more water.
So there you have it; when it doubt rest and drink water, and you will do just fine.