Beijing & Air

So a family friend is spending time in Beijing as a study abroad student. Amazing, I’m sure to be in the Chinese capitol for a few months to experience a totally different culture at an interesting time politically.

So this student is suffering from some chest and lung issues. My mother, both concerned and curious why a young early 20-something would have chest pains, mentioned it to me. I replied, “Well, Beijing is renowned for having terrible air quality.” I then thought back to the 2008 Olympics and how many runners opted out from fear of what days of competition (track runners) or one long run (marathoners) would do to their lungs.

So, now I’m curious what the actual air quality rating is there right now. The good news is that the U.S. Embassy in Beijing has a system on the roof of the embassy that monitors the air quality….and the info is readily available on-line…

The chart is not super intuitive off the bat, but the legend at the bottom of the page helps to put the various colors of the daily chat into context.

In terms of medical care for non-Chinese in Beijing, especially if you are having chest issues and should really get it checked out, your best bet is to call your embassy and ask for the consular section. For Americans, this is ‘American Citizen Services.’ Ask which physician, practice, or hospital embassy staff go to – generally speaking, this doctor/practice/hospital will understand how your health insurance works, what types and level of care you expect, and how to coordinate with your physician back home. Chances are, the officer you are chatting with will give you some other good tips – from the medical scene to the hidden gems in the city – just ask.

Travel Safe!


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