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10 Medicines to (hoard) bring to China

(Every month we present to you, No-Nonsense Mommy Tips by Columnist Carol Ong who touches everyday parenting dilemmas that we all face.This month she writes about stocking on medicines from abroad . Almost every expat parent faces this conundrum while repacking their bags when heading back to Shanghai .Here is what she has to say -SHMAMAS ED)

Which one are you? Are you the type who hoards all sorts of medicines from your home country that you can open up a mini pharmacy? Or are you the type who didn’t bring medicine when you came over, then freaked out when you can’t find even the most basic medicine in local pharmacies?

In the First Aid& CPR class for babies and kids that Dr. Michael Ong MD teaches, he gives tips on preparing a medicine first aid kit in China. Dr. Michael Ong MD is a Family Medicine Specialist at Suntec Medical Center. He also teaches First Aid and CPR classes for babies & kids, including on how to prepare a medicine first aid kit locally in China.He assures patients that while most medicines are available in local pharmacies in Shanghai (if you know the Chinese name ) there are instances when having those precious stash of reliable counter top medicines are reassuring for most parents .

Since many SH Mamas are abroad this summer, here are a list of medicines you may consider bringing back. If you need them.

*Caution: Consult your doctor before buying or administering any medication. Self-medication is dangerous.

1. Epi Pen.This is used for severe allergy, severe asthma, and theoretically used to jump start a stopped heart. Get this only if your doctor has recommended this. If not, chances are you don’t need it. It’s expensive and expires quickly.

2. Benadryl. The Plan B of some parents when it comes to long plane rides and travels. It’s an anti-allergy drug with a side effect of making most babies and kids sleepy.

3. Antihistamine. Just like Benadryl, some antihistamines are not easily available in Shanghai. If you need allergy meds other than Cetirizine (such as Zyrtec) and Loratadine (Clarytine), then stock up.

4. Ventolin single use fixed-dose nebules. This is an asthma medicine for nebulizers. In China, only big bottles are available and you need to measure saline and Ventolin dosage…while having an asthma attack. Get the convenient nebules abroad.

5. Prescription Medicine. Although many are available here, buying them could be tough without a Chinese prescription. Stock up at least two months worth, that will give you ample time to see a doctor here and find the locally available alternative. Make sure to bring your prescription in your hand carry, in case airport security asks for it.

6. Uncommon Illnesses and Chronic Illnesses (such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Asthma, Nerve Pain, Psychiatric, Depression & Anxiety).The exact medicine you’re taking may be hard to find here, so stock up.

7. Vaccines. It is not advised to transport vaccines because they are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. But if you must bring your own, make sure to ask your doctor on how to transport them properly and hand carry the documents needed.

8. Syrup of Ipecac*. This is a first aid to induce vomiting, in case poison is swallowed. (Do NOT induce vomiting if corrosive poison was swallowed). This is not very common even in other countries, and not that important.

9. Activated Charcoal Capsules*. This is a first aid to help absorb poison, in case poison is swallowed. This is not very common even in other countries, and not that important.

*When there’s suspected poisoning, Call USA Poison Control at 00-1-800-222-1222 or rush to the nearest Emergency Room immediately. Bring the poison packaging with you, this is important.

10. Restricted Medicines and Controlled Substances (Benzodiazepines such as Valium; Opiates such as Morphine, Codeine).Minimize bringing these due to strict China regulations on bringing in controlled substances. Most of these are available in hospitals and clinics after a doctor’s consultation. If you must bring, research on the number of pieces allowed, the documents needed; and hand carry your prescription.

What medicines do you think SH Mamas must bring?

Caroline Ong is not a trained physician and offers her advise strictly on basis of her personal experience & under the guidance of her physician husband.

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