Living in Guiyang Guide: Cough and Cold Medicine
Coming down with a cold is never fun. When you’re in a strange country and can’t find familiar medicines to treat what ails you, getting sick can be more than a little inconvenient. It’s no secret that there’s no cure for the common cold. China, however, has some great cold medicine that can get you back on your feet in record time. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, but if you’re just dealing with a normal cold and not something unusually nasty, the following medicines should work just fine.
999 Effective Cold Crystals — 999 感冒灵颗粒 — 999 gǎnmào líng kēlì
This one, I swear, makes colds go away. It’s a drink mix that you stir into hot water. As soon as you realize you’re getting sick, get some in you. When you first take 999, you won’t really notice that it helps your symptoms. You’ll still feel sick the day you take it, so you’ll probably want to take some medicine that will make you feel better temporarily. The 999 drink just seems to make you feel much better every day. I’m getting over a cold as I write this, and having taken only 999 cold stuff, I got the cold down to a 2-3 day ordeal.
HOW: When you’re sick, drink this stuff 3 times per day until you start to feel almost better. Then, take it once per day for a couple more days. Each sachet makes one dose.
Stop Coughing Syrup — 咳嗽停糖浆 — késou tíng tángjiāng
The above medicine magically makes colds go away in a few days, but this one is even more impressive. If you’ve got a productive/phlegmy cough or rattle in your chest, take a swig of this and within ten minutes it’s just…gone. Whatever has been collecting in your lungs just goes away. I don’t know what the ingredients are or why it works so well, but it’s absolutely the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. We just refer to this magic stuff as “God syrup” and always keep a bottle on hand.
HOW: The instructions on the bottle say to take 10-20 mL up to 3 times per day.
Black and White — 白加黑 — bái jiā hēi
Nothing magical here. Just good, old-fashioned decongestant, in the form of pseudo-ephedrine. If you’d like to feel like you’re going to have a heart attack while being able to breathe, this is exactly what you’re looking for. Each package comes with 10 white pills for daytime and 5 black pills for night. You can get this over the counter at most pharmacies. However, this is a semi-controlled medication, so you should bring your passport with you. The pharmacist may not ask, but they are supposed to record your name and passport number in a ledger.
HOW: 1-2 pills per dose every 6 hours. Before bed, take 1-2 black pills.
Decongestant and cough suppressant — 氨麻美敏片 — ānmá měi mǐnpiān
Another western style medicine, this one is a multi-symptom cough and cold pill. The picture isn’t great, but it has ingredients that treat congestion, cough, pain, and inflammation, listed in English on the box. This combo of ingredients can leave you feeling pretty spaced out, so be careful when taking it. The ingredients are very similar to the above medicine (with the addition of cough suppressants), so don’t take both at the same time!
HOW: I actually don’t have a box on hand at the moment. Look on the back or sides to see 1日__次，每次__. That should tell you first how many times per day and then how many pills per dose.
With the medicines above, you should be able to beat a cold no problem. These are my go-to treatments, but I’d love to hear from you about medicines you’ve found in your time here. If you have any additions (for colds or otherwise) that you think others should know about, please comment below with the name of the medicine!