Categorized | Expat Life

Chinese Yellow Dust Makes Me Sick

Every spring yellow dust blows in from China. It covers everything and can cause heath problems. While it doesn’t cause anything serious for me, it does seem to make me sick every year.

A few weeks ago I woke up with a sore throat. Usually this is a sign that I am going to get sick, and when I get sick 9 times out of 10 it is a sinus infection. And that is exactly what happened again this year. Only this time it seems to be worse than before.

I have spent two weeks on medication and made two trips to the hospital. While I am feeling much better now, it hasn’t been a fun few weeks.

First of all, I wasn’t sure a doctor here would see me because I don’t have my alien card (thanks to my school being very slow). Without my alien card I don’t have insurance. So I called the hospital to see if I could get in to see a doctor and they said yes I would just have to pay out of pocket.  That worried me a bit because we all know how expensive it can be to see a doctor without insurance back home.  Well it is not the same here.

To see a doctor in Korea costs the same with or without insurance, and its cheap. I paid roughly $15 for a doctor visit. Where it can get expensive is if you have to have any tests run. I took the risk they wouldn’t want to run any tests and headed to the hospital knowing without antibiotics I would not get better. I was lucky and the doctor examined me and did not need to run any tests. He sent me away with a weeks worth of antibiotics.

Unfortunately, one week worth of antibiotics wasn’t enough to rid me of my infection. So after a week I was back at the hospital. My sinuses were feeling much better, but my throat was not and I was still very hoarse.  This visit wasn’t as pleasant as the doctor needed to use a camera to see my sinuses. He stuck it up my nose and ran it through my sinus cavity until it came out into my throat. It was very uncomfortable and a few times I wanted to grab it and yank it out. I made it through it though and he told me the infection was still in my throat. So he gave me some more medication for 10 days and sent me on my way.

I am about 5 days into that right now and I feel so much better. My throat does not hurt and I am not coughing much anymore. So hopefully by the end of the 10 days I’ll be back to my normal self.

I looked back at my diary the other day and noticed the same time last year I was sick with the same thing. I am convinced the change of seasons and the yellow dust from China has a lot to do with it. Next year I’ll be better prepared to head it off and I will not wait one day before I head to the doctor to try and head it off before it gets too bad.

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About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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