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Survive Summer: An Insider Guide to Combatting Humidity, Pollution and Allergies in Hong Kong

By Localiiz 22 May 2014
May 22nd 2014 The utterly pleasant but woefully short-lived period of cool springtime in Hong Kong is now officially over, having made way for a hot and sticky summer. In addition to this, air pollution and the constant to-ing and fro-ing between ice-cold rooms and the stifling outdoors make for an unhealthy mix. Take a look at some of our summer-survival tips on how to beat the humidity, pollution and allergies in Hong Kong, compiled in collaboration with Kwiksure. Say ‘Hell No’ to Humidity With humidity levels approaching a sweltering 90 percent or higher during the summer months, the idea of outdoor activities of any kind can seem more like pain than pleasure. We can, however, help beat the heat when out and about by dressing in light, natural fabrics, increasing our intake of fluids, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight and liberally slapping on the sunscreen. When inside, cranking up the air-conditioning is a given, but unfortunately, that doesn’t help reduce humidity, leading to damp floors, moldy walls and clothes, and towels that never dry. If you’re on a budget, cupboard and wardrobe dehumidifiers can be used to prevent clothes, food and other perishable items from succumbing to the moisture. Most Hong Kongers will however opt for more hefty help, purchasing an electric dehumidifier. Although this is a markedly more expensive option, usually between HK$1,500 and HK$8,000, it’s a worthwhile investment if you want to stay sane in the summer. We recommend West Wing Appliances, who have been equipping Hong Kong’s best-known electrical stores for more than 20 years. They also provide an excellent after sales service, so you know you’ll get your money’s worth. But if it’s too late and the mold has already set in, call on specialist cleaners The Johnson Group. They offer safe and green home-cleaning services designed to remove mould, dust and pests brought on by the humid climate. Purge the Pollution If the heat wasn’t enough to contend with, the increased air pollution levels during the summer are also a cause for concern. Those with serious respiratory problems should be sure to check the Hong Kong Air Health Quality Index for a handy day-by-day report on pollution levels around the city. It’s advisable to avoid outdoor sports on the most polluted days. The humble facemask is not just the province of the thoughtful, cold-stricken commuter, and is in fact a practical and cheap barrier to the worst of the weather. Although most won’t filter out the smallest (and in fact most dangerous particles), they will go some way to protecting your lungs, and a long way to helping you fit in with the locals! However, the canny people of Hong Kong also employ an effective range of gadgets and gizmos to stay above the smog. Air purifiers, such as those available from Blueair Hong Kong and Life Solutions, work wonders at removing unwanted dirt and allergenic particles from the home and office, and are your best bet if you really want to breathe clean. Out with Allergies For those suffering from seasonal allergies and other respiratory ailments, the long summer months in Hong Kong often feel longer still. You can personally adopt a number of easy steps to help reduce exposure, like keeping windows and doors closed and limiting your time outside. Changes in humidity, air quality and pollution are inextricably linked to allergies in Hong Kong, so ensure you get tested and begin treatment at the first sign of symptoms. If you find yourself going for the World Record for sneezing, giving your system a break from the pollution should be top priority. As well as employing air purifiers and pest removal methods mentioned above, it is wise to treat your respiratory system to a clean out every now and again. Book yourself in at TST’s Salt Spa and enjoy a natural facial with Deep Sea Cosmetics while you breathe easy in their Halotherapy Room. The unrefined rock salt, first noted for its health benefits in the mid-1800s, is said to house anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the symptoms of a wide range of allergies. Those suffering with respiratory-related allergies should also consider Buteyko, a holistic treatment named after the Ukrainian doctor who introduced it in the 1950s. Based on the idea that unnecessarily increased breathing rate, i.e. hyperventilation, is the cause of many medical conditions, the system promotes various breathing techniques for better health. We recommend Buteyko Asia, who hold regular introductory lectures and workshops in Hong Kong. Check their Localiiz page for the next available slots. For further relief, there are a number of supplements and natural remedies that can take the itchy edge off allergies. We recommend a trip to Central’s Integrated Medicine Institute, which has the largest natural supplements and herbal dispensary in Hong Kong and offers great personal advice and a range of holistic therapies.

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Star Gazing – Photographer Brings Out the Beauty of Hong Kong’s Night Sky May 21st 2014: We’re lucky to have an abundance of talented photographers in Hong Kong, but for reasons of light pollution and the ever-present smog, not many train their lenses any higher than the top of the ICC. Not so however for astronomy enthusiast and multi-media creator Mew Chu.  

Gloom in Bloom: Video Romanticises the Dark Side of Hong Kong May 5th 2014: Dreading the wet and rainy week ahead of us? Here’s a video that might just make you appreciate dark days in Hong Kong. Forget the cliché sunshiny and ‘City of Lights’ films and welcome videographer Maison Carnot’s two-day take of the more realistic side of our city.  

Big Sky: Hong Konger’s Video Showcases the Breath-Taking Beauty of Lantau February 28th 2014: The world often forgets that there is so much more to Hong Kong than concrete and sky rises. In a bid to save the stunning Lantau Island from proposed residential development, a very talented young photographer named Will Cho has created this stunning timelapse video to remind us of the beauty that lies beyond the city.  

Alternative Health

Doctors with a Difference: An Insider Guide to HK Alternative Health September 9th 2013: Alternative health has always had a strong following in the city, yet in recent times its popularity has widened to include more sections of society. In this Insider Guide to Alternative Health in Hong Kong, we take a look some of the more prominent centres in the city and the popular treatments and services they offer.

Spilt Milk

Botulism, Botox and Detox August 26th 2013: Last week saw the resignation of Fonterra’s milk products boss Gary Romano, after the New Zealand dairy giant was forced to recall some of its infant milk formula earlier in the month. We asked Dr Susan Jamieson from the Holistic Central Medical Practice for her top tips on how to stay super healthy, purge the toxins and protect against contamination the natural way.

Breath Easy with Free Introductory Buteyko Seminars May 20th 2013: We all do it without thinking every second of every day, but did you know that your breathing pattern could be damaging your health? Buteyko Asia in Wan Chai is running a series of free seminars this week aimed at showing Hong Kongers how to increase their physical and mental health through better breathing techniques.
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