“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Travel
April 1, 2011

Health

This morning I had to cancel a meeting and in the past few weeks I’ve missed two concerts, four film screenings and more meetings than I care to remember while trying to fight a persistent cold. It’s the second one I’ve had this year and follows on from two bad ones I struggled through in […]

Hong Kong Fog

This morning I had to cancel a meeting and in the past few weeks I’ve missed two concerts, four film screenings and more meetings than I care to remember while trying to fight a persistent cold. It’s the second one I’ve had this year and follows on from two bad ones I struggled through in October and December last year.

In fact, when I look over my years in Hong Kong, it’s clear that I’ve had persistent health problems. Things went a little wrong in the first year here – giving up golf and regular exercise and gorging on the cities culinary delights I put on weight. In the past three years I’ve brought that under control with a healthier diet and regular exercise. But, I’m still losing a lot of days to illness.

Perhaps the pollution is part of the problem. According to Clean Air Network, of the 89 days we have had this year, 55 of them have seen the Air Pollution Index rise above 100. What does that mean? Well, according to their website,

“Even though the Government’s API is woefully out of date (not having been revised since 1987) and does NOT protect public health sufficiently by any stretch, we use the API level of 100 as a critical threshold above which to justify the issuance of the warning, “Avoid roadside situations.””

As I write this Hong Kong is experiencing a rare sunny day in what has been a long grey winter. Certainly a lot of people are happy to see the blue skies. But, looking across the harbour it’s obvious the city is also submerged in a smoggy haze and the roadside pollution readings, especially in Mong Kok and Central are pretty scary.

The pollution problem seems to divide people. Some soldier on regardless, enjoying their outdoor running, hiking, tennis and what have you. Others, like myself, are more weary and curtail outdoor activities. I love walking, but can recall a number of occasions where I’ve struggled for a day or two afterwards after long walks, or even modest strolls. I miss the evening dawdles (and rounds of golf) in Delhi and, of course, London is a wonderful city for urban ramblers.

Maybe, I’m making a connection that isn’t there. Perhaps the colds are just a consequence of being in a crowded city where hygiene standards are quite variable and the pollution is a separate problem feeding occasional feeling of tiredness, or an unbalanced exercise routine. I’m not sure.

But, I do know that I’m fed up with missing so many productive days due to ill health.

Responses
Spike 9 years ago

Get thee to a doctor. I’ve had what I thought was a cold or flu for about 4 weeks now and have had a similar loss of productivity. Every time I think it’s gone it comes back. Turns out there’s this thing making the rounds in HK now called mycoplasma – several of my friends have been diagnosed with this and the doctor thinks it’s what I have as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycoplasma

Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that lack a cell wall.[1] Without a cell wall, they are unaffected by many common antibiotics such as penicillin or other beta-lactam antibiotics that target cell wall synthesis. They can be parasitic or saprotrophic. Several species are pathogenic in humans, including M. pneumoniae, which is an important cause of atypical pneumonia and other respiratory disorders, and M. genitalium, which is believed to be involved in pelvic inflammatory diseases.

    Fernando Gros 9 years ago

    Spike – I got myself to a doctor. He was reticent to diagnose me, but did say “we are seeing a lot of this.”

Toni 9 years ago

Looks like we’ve both been suffering then.

Thought I was over it, but this morning I had the sinus-under-pressure headache, deep barking cough and runny nose again. This is now entering week 7 – yet at the end of week 4 I was told my chest was quite clear and I should be fine soon.

Maybe it IS that infamous Irish infectious agent, Michaelplasma doing the rounds?

    Fernando Gros 9 years ago

    Toni – it certainly has been doing the rounds. I’m feeling better now, but still not 100%

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