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We are planning a trip to China in 2009....Is there any health risks in taking a 14 yr. old son ?

Posted by
61 posts

Hi Libby,
I was there last year. The main things to consider in terms of health are the incredible air and water pollution. Depending on what areas you are to visit, you might need to be on anti-malarial medication too. Go to the website to read up on their recommendations for travel there.

I am one to err on the side of caution, so I made sure that all of the vaccines that the cdc recommended were up to date.

Do not drink anything but factory sealed beverages, including water. Do not drink the hotel water or use it for brushing teeth without boiling or sending it through a purifier first. I took a katydyne, others in my group used a uv sterilizer. One of our hotels actually had a sign in the bathroom saying that the water was not for drinking. (in Xi'an)

There were many people (Chinese) with face masks on because of the air pollution. If anyone in the family has respiratory issues, talk with your physician about precautions to take.

continued in a 2nd message

Posted by
61 posts

We thought the air pollution in Beijing was bad until we got to Xi'an and they were burning the fields off too and we added smoke to the pollution.

We didn't experience the same level of air pollution in Shanghai or Hong Kong. The air seemed clearer in those two cities.

I forgot to add to take precautions with all foods that are uncooked - so no fresh salads, unpeeled fruits, etc. While they won't make the locals sick, they would us if we hadn't been exposed to the native organisms before.

That said, the trip was amazing. I have traveled extensively, but this was exposure to a culture extremely different from mine, as opposed to just different. The sights and activities were ones that I had never thought I would experience. But I would advise you to plan ahead and take precautions before and during the trip so that there are no unpleasant suprises.

Posted by
769 posts

thats WAY east - i think this board is for east Europe! but it would be cool to have a Latin or Far East section!

Posted by
8 posts

I spent two months in China last summer and most hotels have a water boiler in the room that you can use to at least kill germs in the water. Also, a lot of hotels provide a bottle or two of water in the room for free (but check). Buy water if you can from a store rather than on the street.
You probably want to take some antidiarrheal and maybe antibiotics with you almost everyone in my group had at least one bout of intestinal rebellion!

Posted by
7 posts

Libby, I did a backpacking trip for 3 weeks in China. My only issues were the sand in the air in Beijing and the sand flies in Beijing and Xi'an. Be sure to bring bug repellent and spray your shoes and ankles (Although I tend to be the mosquito magnet so I usually take all the bug bites - my wife didn't have any issues.)

We also bought a water purifier to use for brushing teeth. You can also use bottled water. While we both had a few stomach issues, we didn't let that stop us from eating at local food vendors. Our tour even included lunch at a local's house!

China was an incredible country and I would love to go back! Have fun!

Posted by
54 posts

we wnet 2 years ago , only drank botteld water evn for brushing teeth
had my doctor give us Mlaria tabletts even knwo we did not encounter nay misquiots
and updated all our shoot
check the health department website for reqyierment for foreing travel

we eat all kinds of food and we where fine
explore go outside the tourist traps and walk aroudn
Oh people will stare at you an dhaggel for prices

have fun