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Do you travel with an air mask (N95) when you go to China?

Do you travel with an air mask (N95) when you go to China?

Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:27 AM
  #21  
 
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You seem pretty negative, temppeternah. I mean for holiday makers who will spend 10 days flitting around Beijing, north China, how much personal damage could they possibly suffer? We are talking crappy air, not poison gas. Yes, many beijingers wear the disposable masks so no foreigner need feel strange or out of place if also wearing one.
Not long ago i took the airplane to Phoenix and could easily see the massive brown cloud hovering over the city. Pollution. Did anyone leave?
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 05:33 PM
  #22  
 
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This is a place to post on topics of interest to those considering travel to Asia, and your opinion of other posters is both impertinent and off-topic. But I'll reply in kind and say that I think your posting is one of the most vacuous and pointlessly ad hominem I've seen for a while. The purpose of exchanges here is to pass on reliable information, whether you happen to like it or not.

People frequently ask here for information on China's pollution, which is said even by the Chinese press to have caused a recent drop of 10% in foreign tourism to Beijing. The information supplied helps to answer such queries, and characterizing it as 'negative' is fatuous. It is what it is, and once well-informed of the actual state of things (and having been directed away from equally silly, 'Well I never wear a mask and the sky's blue today' postings), readers may make their own decisions based on actual facts, and, if they're wise, seek proper medical advice rather than hearsay, and take masks to wear, as is widely recommended by health authorities. From the link most recently posted they may see at what times in the year the air is slightly less dangerous.

> We are talking crappy air, not poison gas.

We are talking exactly what is set out in the links given, not mere rhetoric and guesswork. And what we're looking at is levels of dangerous and lung-damaging particulates and often dozens of multiples of what is considered safe, at levels that shorten roughly a million lives every single year. These are particularly troubling for the young, the elderly, and the sensitive, even on a casual basis, as the US embassy courteously troubles to point out via Twitter on an hourly basis. Perhaps you should complain about the negativity of US officials and doctors, too.

> Not long ago i took the airplane to Phoenix and could easily see the massive brown cloud hovering over the city. Pollution. Did anyone leave?

I've no idea, but I expect those with two brain cells to rub together could detect the fallacy employed here (the tu quoque fallacy) and know that whether Phoenix's air is worse or better than Beijing's (and it is, of course, vastly better) has no effect whatsoever on how Beijing's air is, or on what precautions should be taken by visitors to Beijing.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 10:43 PM
  #23  
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Thanks for the updated info, Peter!
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 04:19 AM
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Even the "safer" months look pretty unsafe to me. I'm an "older" person with already compromised lungs, and I would be reluctant to spend a long time in Beijing now. Of course, I have the advantage of having visited before. Three times in fact, and I clearly saw the deterioriation in the air between visits. By the third visit it was the clearest thing I saw.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 05:16 AM
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What did i do, you ask? I enjoyed Beijing and north china every month for many years and occasionally suffered from black snot, clogged airways, coal dust on the bicycle seat, sand storms, excessive autos and buses, and always too crowded. But i met the people, spoke some 'putonghua', greatly marveled at the inventive and tasty foods, hiked many miles along various parts of the Great Wall and slept on hard beds in houses with dirt floors. Thankfully i'm a healthy guy and could take the suffering. Glad i went. No, i never wore a medical mask.

Tomorrow i need to go the library to find a book of old latin phrases to learn what is troubling Mr. Peter. He surely seems annoyed that anyone would question his authority, or his absolute certain citations. I never meant to attack him, despite his claim otherwise. He also cannot accept the OP's statement of 'no medical advice sought', so i gotta wonder.
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

@jobin - when were these "many years"? As I posted, when I first visited Beijing (in the 90s) the air was fine. Are you actually trying to claim that is still the case?
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Old Jul 10th, 2014, 12:42 PM
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I thought this might be helpful information from www.fda.gov:

N95 Respirators for Use by the Public

An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. In addition to blocking splashes, sprays and large droplets, the respirator is also designed to prevent the wearer from breathing in very small particles that may be in the air.
To work as expected, an N95 respirator requires a proper fit to your face. Generally, to check for proper fit, you should put on your respirator and adjust the straps so that the respirator fits tight but comfortably to your face. For information on proper fit, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.

N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because a proper fit cannot be achieved on children and people with facial hair, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection.

People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make it harder to breathe should check with their healthcare provider before using an N95 respirator because the N95 respirator can require more effort to breathe. Some models have exhalation valves that can make breathing out easier and help reduce heat build-up.

ALL FDA-cleared N95 respirators are labeled as "single use", disposable devices. If your respirator is damaged or soiled, or if breathing becomes difficult, you should remove the respirator, discard it properly, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your N95 respirator, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used respirator.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Wow, I guess we really lucked out during our ten day trip to Beijing and Shanghai. We went in December, and even though that month looks bad on the above charts, we had crystal clear days. Did not see any locals wearing masks in either city. I feel very fortunate to have visited when the weather was good.
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 06:55 PM
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> What did i do, you ask?

Actually, I don't think anyone did, since your experiences are hardly unique, and playing the Old China Hand card is the last resort of those incapable of telling a fallacy from a cheese sandwich.

Nothing that you went on to say is of any relevance to the situation with the air in Beijing, which is what the detectors say it is, and as unhealthy as the experts say it is, and requiring the prophylaxis they say it does, regardless of your personal decision to disregard it which is also entirely irrelevant.

> what is troubling Mr. Peter. He surely seems annoyed that anyone would question his authority, or his absolute certain citations. I never meant to attack him,

You suggested that posting data of use to those worried about air pollution in China constituted negativity on my part. What you think of other posters is, as much else you post, entirely irrelevant. Facts on China's current air pollution problems are neither negative or positive, but simply facts of which the intending visitor needs to be aware, rather than a combination of wishful thinking and waffling anecdote of the, 'Well I didn't take any pills and I didn't get malaria' kind, far more likely to damage their health than preserve it.

To start wittering on about questioning my 'authority' or 'certainty' is simply more of the same kind of ad hominem nonsense. The data to which links have been provided is from authoritative sources, not from me. Other readers will hopefully find the links provided by myself and others, and authoritative material from the FDA posted by KTravel to be of rather more use.

N95 masks are tiresome to wear at first, but weigh next to nothing, are not particularly expensive, and the prospect of wearing them need not deter anyone from visiting Beijing. But the quality of the air, bad as it was in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, is now often truly frightening, and the elderly, the youthful, and the sensitive in particular should seek professionally qualified advice before considering a visit rather than listening to hearsay, wishful thinking, and anecdotes of experiences whose anyway doubtful relevance may have long been superseded by events.
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Old Apr 30th, 2015, 08:32 AM
  #30  
 
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Thanks for this! I'm looking over topics on the forum to glean information I may need for my first trip to China.

I already knew the air was bad in Beijing as it received a lot of coverage when it was announced to host the summer Olympics. I haven't considered wearing a mask as blogs and other trip reports I have read make no mention of it. At most an article mentioned being more easily tired due to air quality and so not to plan an aggressive itinerary.

The articles cited here tell a different story (though they focus on longer stays vs few days on vacation). It's unfortunate that no actions are being taken.

Not to be dramatic but has anyone thought it was so bad to shorten their time in Beijing as the top sites are outdoors? And no, these articles no do make me think Beijing is always covered in a thick layer of smog. I'm just curious. The internet just surfaces both extremes. I'm still hoping for good days when I go. : )
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 04:11 AM
  #31  
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@ flyingbaran --

I'm not sure I can answer your questions, but I can say that if I were going to Beijing now, I would talk to my physician first and I would take any advice I got! And yes, I would take an appropriate mask with me, just to be sure. Pollution isn't just unsightly -- it can be dangerous.

I'm really glad I saw Beijing when I did.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 03:18 PM
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We lucked out in Shanghai in late March - the air quality was fine. But there were several runners with us (it was a work trip for Mr. Crosscheck) who swore by an app showing the up-to-date air quality and pollution index in various Chinese cities, as measured by the US Embassy:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chin...477700080?mt=8
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