purchasing a membership plan at the International Medical Center (IMC). IMC has a Western medical staff of physicians and nurses and offers a range of services and membership plans. IMC offers a ten percent discount on all fees to members of SOS. See page 13 for IMC's address.
As part of health care management, some people suggest carrying a basic medical encyclopedia. David Werner's Where There Is No Doctor is recommended for people living in small towns and villages where medical care is less available. Take with you any prescription drugs you may need, especially if you will be living outside major cities. It is useful to have the Latin names of medications because that is what Chinese medical personnel will recognize. People with a history of asthma, bronchitis, or tonsillitis should be prepared for frequent flare-ups, especially in cities and during the winter. For allergy sufferers, Peking Union Medical College has a good allergy clinic. Allergy medicine can be packed in dry ice, if necessary, and the prescription refilled at Peking Union Medical College. The U.S. Embassy urges residents in Beijing to buy humidifiers for use during the winter months as prevention against colds, and the advice probably applies to all parts of China where winters are dry. Chinese-made humidifiers are now readily available. Almost every newcomer contracts a cold within a few weeks of arrival in China, and some foreigners are plagued with respiratory problems throughout their stay. It is wise, therefore, to take plenty of cold remedies, cough drops, and throat lozenges. You can also ask your local clinic for help; Chinese remedies for colds are mild but quite effective.
A personal first-aid kit might include vitamins, aspirin, lomotil (for diarrhea), antacid, cough drops, deodorant, sunscreen, lip balm, first-aid spray, athlete's foot medicine, shaving cream, dental floss, insect repellent, a lice-removal kit for remote fieldwork, a thermometer, and earplugs. Women who will be living outside Beijing are advised to take a good supply of sanitary napkins and tampons, although many cities now carry O.B. brand tampons. In Beijing, Watson's drug store, now at several locations, Welcome at the China World Trade Center, and the drug store at the Lido Holiday Inn now have steady supplies of tampons. If you are subject to gynecological infections, bring your remedies along.
Watson's in Beijing sells condoms and over-the-counter birth control pills, but contraceptives are not easily obtained by foreigners in most parts of China and cannot be mailed from outside. Eyeglasses are quite inexpensive in China, but some people have not been satisfied with the quality of the lenses. In any case, it is a good idea to take an extra pair as well as your prescription with you. Contact lens solutions are now