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Shanghai Docs give health tips for Expo visitors

2010. 28 April

by Ren Zhongxi
( Doctors at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine are warning people to take extra care when visiting the Shanghai Expo, especially during the city’s sweltering summer. They listed eight conditions people should take extra care with.

Fainting fits

People prone to fainting fits may sweat, vomit or lose consciousness in noisy and crowded environments. Standing for a long time, nervousness or panic may trigger an attack. The condition affects people of all ages.

People with a history of fainting, low blood pressure, who are underweight, have nervous system diseases or diabetes should be especially careful.

How to deal with a fainting fit: Doctor Cui Song of the University Hospital said fainting usually causes no long-term damage. If somebody faints, people around him should stay calm and pinch the patient to wake him up. The patient should be given water and told to rest.

How to prevent: Patients who are prone to fainting should eat a proper breakfast, drink plenty of water (including lightly salted water) and avoid standing for long periods.

Cardiac patients

People with a history of heart disease need to take extra care because crowded environments and fatigue may trigger heart attacks. And rushing around the Expo will put additional strain on the heart and lungs.

If people have chest pains that last for more than 10 or 20 minutes they may be suffering from a heart attack, and should be taken to one of the medical assistance stations in the Expo Park. Breathing difficulties are another possible symptom of heart failure.

Who should be careful: Males older than 55, females older than 65, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, overweight people and smokers.

How to handle: If someone is having heart attack, he/she should sit or lie down. High risk groups should take rests at intervals and take oxygen provided at the medical stations.

How to prevent: Patients diagnosed with heart disease should make sure their current condition is stable and bring medicines with them. They should check the location of medical assistance stations and be accompanied by someone who knows first aid.

Lung and bronchial complaints

People who have bronchial and lung diseases shouldn't stay long in crowded and stuffy environments, said Doctor Wei Jianglei of the stroke department of the University Hospital. They should avoid crowded pavilions and should visit the Expo in June or September when there are not so many visitors.

Symptoms: coughing, shortness of breath. Some patients’ lips may turn purple if they remain for too long in an oxygen-poor environment

How to handle: move patients to better-ventilated places

Stroke patients

Agitated moods, smoking, drinking and crowded environments can trigger strokes. In summer, people sweat a lot and their blood may thicken, leading to infarction of the brain.

How to prevent: Stroke patients should pay attention to secondary prevention to avoid relapses. They should try to keep their blood pressure stable and stay calm. They should make sure they have a good night’s sleep before visiting the Expo and avoid getting impatient while queuing.


Xiong Xudong, director of the University Hospital’s emergency department, said many asthmatic patients suffer relapses during vacations because they spend too much time in crowded and stifling stores and supermarkets. Tension, agitated moods and perfume may also trigger attacks. Patients should move to airy, less crowded spaces immediately if they start to feel unwell.

How to prevent: Asthma sufferers should bring their inhalers with them and avoid getting over-tired.

Kidney patients

Kidney patients tire easily and should avoid too much exertion. Their immunity tends to be low so they catch colds easily. But they need to take care with medication, especially antibiotics, as many medicines are not suitable for them. Shanghai Changzheng Hospital is providing special dialysis wards for Expo visitors.

How to prevent: Patients should not stay too long inside pavilions. They should try to stick to watching outdoor performances.

Common Cold

Most people think having a cold is no big deal. But a surprising number of young people die of acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) caused by colds. Myocarditis can also affect people with low immunity. People should take vitamins and have a good sleep before going to Expo. People with serious colds should wear facemasks.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women have reduced immunity and can be easily infected by harmful bacteria – especially in crowded environments. The bacteria are dangerous to both expectant mothers and their babies, so pregnant women should avoid crowded and poorly-ventilated places. Doctors suggest they watch the Expo on TV or visit when there are smaller crowds.