In advance of any trip, you should first seek out your own government’s website for health, security and up to date travel advice, as natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, political unrest and terrorist incidents, which may affect specific nationalities, religious or racial identities, can occur and develop quickly.

Be sure to consult your medical practitioner well in advance of travel (6-8 weeks) to seek advice, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions or are pregnant, and arrange any recommended or necessary treatment or vaccinations. It is also best practise to see a dentist before travel.

With the exception of Yellow Fever, for those travelling from an infected area, there are no vaccinations required as a condition of entry into China. However the decision to avoid recommended medical precautions should be either based on medical advice from your practitioner or the personal acceptance of risk.

Currently recommended vaccinations for Hong Kong and Macau are Adult diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella), Tuberculosis, Typhoid, and Varicella (chickenpox). If planning to travel without medical protection, it may also be prudent to check for pre-qualifying conditions with regard to ignoring medical advice in your travel insurance policy.

Regarding travel insurance, this should be updated to include any adventure activities you may have included in your travel itinerary. Travelling without insurance is highly risky, even if you are fit and healthy, as the unforeseen can happen to anybody, resulting in serious medical expenses. The uninsured cost of repatriation to your own country can be astronomical and, using the standard international US $ measure, can easily run into a six-figure sum. 

If you are insured for any incurred medical expenses during your trip, be sure to keep all documents relating to your treatment for your claim.

If you are carrying prescribed medicines as part of your normal healthcare, particularly if these require the use of syringes, to avoid potentially serious misunderstandings with foreign officials, is recommended to obtain a letter from your practitioner detailing their use in relation to your condition.

Healthcare in Hong Kong and Macau is of an excellent standard and assuming good personal hygiene, most travellers will not encounter medical difficulties, but the most likely ailment, as with all foreign travel, is diarrhoea, the best countermeasure for which is good hydration, also important in preventing heatstroke. Sunscreen is also essential.

Cuts and grazes should be kept clean, with antiseptic applied to prevent infection. It is always recommended to carry a well-stocked personal medical kit for the immediate self-treatment of minor injuries and infections. Use a mosquito repellent to limit the potential of Malaria or Dengue Fever.

Water standards in Hong Kong City are good and no special precautions are necessary, but in other areas and in Macau, visitors should avoid drinking tap water and water from the wild, and should use only bottled water, even for brushing teeth. Ice in drinks should also be avoided and fruit should be peeled before eating. 

In common with many other parts of the world, it pays to examine the bottle-top seals, to ensure bottles have not been re-filled by unscrupulous traders.

 

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