Health and Safety
If you have not already visited your doctor to determine your immunization needs, please do so immediately. Some vaccinations require multiple doses, and others require an incubation period before they become effective.
The following vaccinations are very important:
- Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)—Be sure you are up to date.
- Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT)—Be sure you are up to date (remember that Diphtheria/Tetanus (DT) boosters are required every ten years)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Influenza (otherwise known as the “flu shot”)
The following vaccination is optional; you may wish to discuss your risk with your doctor:
If you are planning travel to any rural areas before or after the conference, please discuss with your doctor the additional health risks associated with rural travel. Should you have additional travel-related questions, please contact Kris Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Beijing is NOT a malaria area, and the risk of contracting malaria in and around Beijing is minimal. If you are planning travel outside of Beijing after the conference, however, you should speak with your doctor about malaria risks in other regions of China and obtain any preventative medications your doctor recommends.
Unfortunately, food-born illness is always a travel risk. Please follow the guidelines below to reduce the risk of contracting food-born illness, especially if you plan to travel on your own in or around the city (outside of planned conference activities):
Even the most careful traveler sometimes encounters problems with food-born illness. It is a good idea to ask your doctor for a prescription for CIPRO or another antibiotic she recommends. Fill the prescription before traveling, and keep the medication with you.
- ALWAYS drink bottled water—do not drink tap water or water from unsealed bottles at any time.
- Order drinks without ice, and do not drink fountain sodas or beer from a tap. Ask for bottled soft drinks and beer.
- Brush your teeth with bottled water.
- Do not purchase food from street vendors.
- If a restaurant does not look clean, chances are it isn’t. Find a different one. Look for restaurant suggestions in guide books or ask the hotel concierge.
- Use straws when drinking from cans.
- Cut into meat (especially poultry) before eating. If it is not cooked through, send it back.
- Do not consume raw…anything. Avoid sushi and other undercooked meats and fish, and consume only cooked fruits and vegetables or those you can peel.
It is always a good idea to carry extra copies of any necessary prescriptions with you when you travel in case you lose your medications. Prescriptions can be filled easily in Beijing at any of several well-respected international medical clinics.
The Center for Disease Control keeps up-to-date information on health risks associated with travel in China.
Beijing is considered an extremely safe city, and the biggest risk to travelers is theft. You can help to protect yourself by following a few simple guidelines:
- Do not leave handbags on chair backs or briefcases out of your sight in public places. Keep your belongings on your lap or in front of you between your feet.
- Hold all bags, purses, and backpacks in front of you, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation.
- Do not put luggage or other belongings in the trunks of taxicabs. Keep your luggage with you in the backseat whenever possible. If the driver insists you put your luggage in the trunk, find another cab. Do not pay the fare until you are sure you have all of your belongings.
- Do not exchange money with people offering better deals than what you will get at official banks. This is a popular scam in Beijing, and the money is counterfeit. Exchange currency only at established banks or at the hotel.
- As with any city, do not travel alone, especially at night. Stay in well-lit public areas.
- Use only registered taxicabs, and make sure the driver uses the meter. Do not get into unmarked cars.
- When visiting shopping areas, stay within their confines. People will approach you offering “great deals” on cds, dvds, etc. if you follow them into alleys or apartment buildings. While these people typically are not dangerous, there have been some reports of thefts and muggings. Please protect yourself by refusing their advances.
- Keep photocopies of your passport and Chinese visa with you separate from your actual passport. It is also a good idea to scan copies of these documents and email them to yourself before you travel so that you can access them should lose your passport while traveling and need to replace it.