Sunday, March 15, 2009

One thing about living in Korea that I seriously hate! Yellow dust from China . . .

This is one thing that I truly hate about living in Korea--Chinese yellow dust.

Dust clouds leaving mainland China and traveling toward Korea and Japan.


From the KT, Yellow Dust Expected Today

There are a few websites that monitor and track the dust levels. For example, Yellow Sand/Asian Dust Monitor System and this link shows the dust levels by different areas . . .

Some things I try to do to cope,

1. Drink lots of water.
2. Don't go outside for extended periods of time.
3. Keep windows in my apartment closed.
4. Vacuum everyday and sometimes twice a day to keep dust residue in my apartment down.

Wikipedia says the following about the effects of yellow dust,

"Areas affected by the dust experience decreased visibility and the dust is known to cause a variety of health problems, not limited to sore throat and asthma in otherwise healthy people. Often, people are advised to avoid or minimize outdoor activities, depending on severity of storms. For those already with asthma or respiratory infections, it can be fatal. The dust has been shown to increase the daily mortality rate in one affected region by 1.7%."

I tend to feel like I've gotten a cold or something like mild flu symptoms if it's bad enough outside. My throat will be sore, my eyes irritated, sometimes a little feverish, body ache, and general fatigue . . . oh yeah, and maybe coughing up nasty stuff with a nice addition of wonderful kleenex nose-blowing content too . . .

Julianne is looking at this website and considering getting a special mask with the proper filters and construction due to some specific health concerns for her and how the dust might effect her.

The Sport Pack includes one Honeycomb mask, one disposable Sport Filter and two reusable exhalation valves for the filter (Patent Pending). You breathe in through the activated carbon filter. When you breathe out, a flap in each exhalation valve allows the air to expel rapidly. This mask was evaluated by elite athletes competing in test events in Beijing before the air cleared for the games in August 2008. Reduce exposure to: smoke, acrid air, dust, pollution, fragrances, diesel fumes, mold and other particles. Effective for poor air quality indoors or on airplanes. A porous, lightweight, washable shell holds and seals a disposable carbon filter with or without valves. Mask fits in a pocket. The adjustable ear loops allow for a personal fit and long wearing comfort, even with eye glasses, goggles or a helmet. Replace filter when breathing becomes difficult or odor comes through even after adjusting nose wire. Before disposing of filter, remove valves, wash and place them in new filter. How long a filter lasts depends upon your sensitivities and environment. You can talk and be heard while wearing these masks.

You'll see Koreans wearing face masks that in my opinion don't look like they do anything more than a placebo effect for them . . .

Looking at wikipedia's entry on "dust masks" you can see that very specific requirements are involved . . .

It looks like HEPA, or, "A high efficiency particulate air or HEPA[1] (IPA: /ˈhɛpə/) filter is a type of high-efficiency air filter" is what one would need in Korea if you have extremely serious health issues--but then I'm not an expert on this so take that with a grain of salt . . .

This is the link for a website that Julianne found with masks that ship to Korea. But we're still not sure if the masks here are the best choice for what she needs.

Anyone else have some coping methods they use? Or a better website link for info each day on the levels?

J

6 comments:

Kelsey said...

I am so glad that down here in Jindo, it tends to mostly miss us.

Jason said...

I'm not sure how it's going to hit Chuncheon. I wonder how the ring of surrounding mountains will effect the dust. I wonder if it will cause the dust to linger, or if they mountains create a barrier of sorts . . . guess I'll see soon.

J

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Foreigner Joy said...

Allright I did my google attempt at this:
http://www.osan.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123137640

http://www.accuweather.com/regional-news-story.asp?partner=cnn&traveler=0&region=worldnews&date=2009-03-15_13:14

http://www.france24.com/en/20090227-skoreans-buy-air-purifiers-amid-yellow-dust-warning

http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_List.asp?code=Ne9

but no golden site yet on predicting it

Foreigner Joy said...

http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/asi/asi_02_04.jsp

Now you just need a scientific background.

Jason said...

Uhm . . . hi Foreigner Joy,

I might suggest that any info taken from a Korean weather or pollution website be taken with a grain of salt the size of the moon . . . .

It's interesting to take a look at, but I think I remember reading several news stories online about Koreans complaining about poor quality weather forecasts, etc, and the national weather service trying to hire a foreign international weather guru/prof to come here and help improve things . . .

Anyways, thanks for the links.
J