Travel, Teach, Live in Korea
Let's forget everything about the etymology of yellow dust in North America or South Korea and where it comes from and focus on the things that matter. Yellow dust can be very annoying to a foreigner in Korea who has never encountered it before. So what do you need to know?
To start, it doesn't matter where you live in South Korea you will come across it at some point. However, in Seoul the dust "attacks" are worst of all. Generally it is worse in the northern parts of the peninsula since it comes from China. Yellow dust comes from the Chinese desserts just above Korea. If you live in a city like Chuncheon or Suwon or even Busan your encounters with it are much less dramatic that if you live in Seoul or Incheon.
The first thing you must do is find out if you are allergic to it or not. Typically people who are allergic to dust have a strong negative reaction to yellow dust as well. How do you know if you are allergic or not? You go to Asan Hospital in Seoul or the public hospital that is closest in your city have an allergy test done. It will cost about 100,000won and then you'll know what affects you or doesn't. The irritations will range from making you cough and giving you a sore throat to inducing Asthma and Sinus infections in your body.
One hundred thousand won may seem like a lot to pay at a public hospital, but let's take a look at what it's costing you to avoid taking the test and not knowing how it affects you.
Yellow dust is said to irritate your throat. I know this is a fact because when I catch a cold in the winter, it's just a cold and it goes away soon. However when I have the same cold or virus in the spring when there is a lot of this dust in the air, my cold turns into a terrible sore throat. Unfortunately it doesn't stop there. A sore throat quickly becomes Asthma if not treated early enough. I know, Asthma is one of those things that people who've had it in the past, get it again. I never had any problems with Asthma until one spring I went to 3 doctors, 1 specialist and finally the hospital informed me I was having serious Asthma related problems with my throat. Take note that I mentioned it was the spring. Yellow dust is most prevalent in Seoul, in the North-West parts of South Korea and in the spring. By the time the heavy summer rain falls come the air is clean.
Yellow dust is a serious thing that if you don't have it checked out, it will affect everything you do. Speaking is very difficult when you have serious throat problems. Exercising is also difficult. Get yourself checked out so you avoid these problems right from the start.
Whether you're allergic or not, you should wear a mask when it comes anyway. Where do you get a mask? You can buy a mask at any pharmacy. However you need to buy one that blocks yellow dust, which you will need to ask for. Most Pharmacies recognize the words "yellow dust" but you should know how to say it in Korean. The pronunciation is "Hwang-Sa". You might also want to know how to say 'mask'; "Ma-Seu-Keu". It is very common to see someone wearing a mask in the spring, and sometimes during the summer to say healthy during yellow dust storms.
Dan teachers Native English Teachers how to survive in Korea by cooking, giving and being loving at their schools. Join his free newsletter: http://www.survivalinkorea.com.
[Edited by Administrator (admin) Wed, 06 Jul 2011, 07:08 PM]