Traveling to China, Shaolin, or Asia in general presents some risks from a medical standpoint. Being prepared for these risks will further enhance the quailty of your time spent abroad. The following is a brief summary of medical advice for physicians, that presents a well rounded overview of the various health related issues when dealing with traveling abroad. More specific information can be found in the Forum / Library, in the "doc's Hospital" section.

Travel abroad should be an exciting and rewarding experience.... However, potential but preventable health hazards, which vary from one country to another, need to be considered. The following information will assist clinicians in helping travelers avoid health problems when they go abroad.




General Advice

When advising patients about traveling abroad, ask them to be specific about their itinerary, because risk varies among and within countries. Consult a government travel advice site for guidance on the health risks in areas to be visited. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO) all have guidance about country-specific health hazards. Check country notices shortly before departure. For questions about health hazards that are not answered on official sites, patients should be instructed to call CDC or their state health department.

Patients should prepare for the unexpected -- disruptions in travel plans, loss of documents, etc -- and take at least an extra 2-week supply of chronic medications; copies of all documents, including passport, visas, passport photos, proof of vaccinations, and prescriptions (including a letter on physician's stationery if controlled or injectable medications are carried); eye glasses; and telephone numbers for credit card replacements, etc, and leave copies with someone at home. Travelers with chronic health conditions should take a summary of their current health status, including a recent ECG/EEG, if appropriate. They need to determine in advance if their health insurance provides coverage abroad. Medicare and Medicaid do not provide coverage outside the United States, so these patients should consider purchasing short-term travel health insurance. Names of travel health insurance companies are available on the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs Website.