Getting Sick In China – Buying Medicine


Its happens to all of us. You wake up with a congested nose or soar throat and now your on a mission. Finding medicines your familiar with to can be difficult if you dont know where to look. Relax, this post will help you navigate through a Chinese drug store to help you get over this cold and back on the road!

The Common Cold


Getting sick in China is no big deal as long as you take care of yourself. It goes without saying that the number one piece of advice is to get plenty of rest and drink water. You can also ask your hotel or hostel to help you buy some cough medicine, but if you need to go on your own here are some useful phrases that will help you get what you need.



Headache - 头疼 - tou2 teng2

Soar Throat - 嗓子疼 - sang2 zi teng2

Congestion / Runny Nose - 鼻塞 - bi2 se4

Pain Behind your Eyes - 眼睛疼 - yan3 jing teng2

Weak Body - 身体有点碟 - shen1 ti3 you dian die2


Finding a Medicine Shop

Is there a medicine shop nearby? - 附近有一个药店吗?

medicine shop - 药店

Chinese Medicine - 中药

Western Medicine- 西药


China has two types of medicine shops; Western medicine and Eastern Medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Western Medicine is generally considered to be much faster than TCM so my advice for travelers is to stick with what you know works. Here are two medicines that are widely available in China and work very well:


Tylenol Cold - Available in most common drug stores; If you know where to look. Most drug store clerks are not familiar with foreign medicine, so you might need to do some searching yourself. Look for this box:




Golden Cough Drops - Available in medicated / non-medicated versions. These are some of the best cold remedies that I have ever had. You don't have to worry about eating too many, I asked the pharmacist before. Be sure to pick some up they look like this:



If the severity of your cold gets worse, and you need to see a doctor you can just head over to any hospital to see the doctor. Usually, the wait time is very short and the charge is under 20 RMB. If you can bring someone who can speak Mandarin, the whole process is very easy.



Written by Matt


Matt founded Backpack In China in 2010 to help travelers make the best of their trips to China. Since that time he has been living and working in Florida, USA. Each summer he for vacations in China for several weeks.


  1. Where can i buy rho(D) immune gloubin human medicine in china?

  2. find man of some triad. You get everything from what you asked to what you can only imagine.

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