How Chinese students can deal with the flu season and get a medical certificate for sicknesses when needed.

Melody Chen

I am writing about different strategies for dealing with colds and flu, featuring an International student from the University of Sydney, Shelly, who caught a cold and felt very sick, she went to the doctor and found out the medical treatment is very different from China and the steps to get a medical certificate are also more rigorous.

Since we are approaching the colder seasons, this article is angled at how Chinese treatment of cold and flu differs from treatment in Australia, and how Chinese students can understand these different approaches to be able to navigate the health system and obtain a medical certificate when they are ill.


how to cover your cough

I’ll separate the first part of the question into two aspects, namely, different habits and medical treatments. Basic medical treatment and habits of Chinese and Australian patients differ when it comes to coping with colds and the flu. Based on my observations, when Australian people cough and sneeze, they generally use their elbows to cover their mouths, whereas Chinese use their hands in most cases.

Medical treatment also varies. Some Chinese students said they were advised to take many medicines in China, but usually only being prescribed Panadol in Australia. They doubted whether Panadol would be effective to cope with different types of virus or not.


How to get a medical certificate for cold and flu is the core part of this article, since many Chinese students said that it was difficult to get and were confused as to why they were refused one. Sufficient details and suggestions would be helpful and valuable, making this article attractive to Chinese students in Australia, perfectly targeting it towards the readership of the Meld Magazine.


I managed to find some answers when I went to the Health Centre at the University of Sydney. The main reason was how students described their symptoms, which greatly influenced a doctor’s decision on how contagious their flu was and the necessity of a medical certificate.

I conducted face-to-face interviews to get sources directly from experienced doctors, and also did some research on related topics online, such as the introduction about virus of cold and flu.

I’ve already interviewed the Director of the Health Centre, Dr Ian Marshall, who gave me some basic reliable information on colds and flu, how to prevent them, why Panadol is often used, and the differences and similarities of medical treatments between Australia and China. He also shared his opinions on using antibiotics, a topical issue among Chinese students.

The Health Centre also provided me with a brochure on cold and flu problems, including differences between colds and flu and what patients should do. The brochure will be presented in the article.

To get further information, I conducted extra interviews including 3-4 students who have experienced seeing doctors at the Health Centre of USYD.


For Multimedia and Hypertext, I can provide:

  • a short introduction video about cold and flu
  • useful links to two health websites: the Health Share and Health Direct, to provide basic knowledge of cold & flu and professional support. Dr Ian Marshall is a doctor on the Health Share website, available for patients to get in touch with
  • Images which clearly describe the different habits between Chinese and Australians are also available.
About Melody Chen 2 Articles
Melody Chen is current student studying a Master of Media Practice in the University of Sydney. Before that, she complete her Bachelor degree of Arts- English and French at Nanjing Normal University.

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