The Pollution and Getting Sick

I recently moved to Saigon a few weeks ago but since then I have developed this constant cough and my nose runs. Has anyone else experienced this? I am not feeling ill or anything. Just weird symptoms. My only conclusion is the pollution that is affecting me.

Let me know if anyone else has had this problem and what you did to rectify this.

DiandraL :

I recently moved to Saigon a few weeks ago but since then I have developed this constant cough and my nose runs. Has anyone else experienced this? I am not feeling ill or anything. Just weird symptoms. My only conclusion is the pollution that is affecting me.

Let me know if anyone else has had this problem and what you did to rectify this.

I didn't have the problem until now as I had only been living in D1 for 3 months.  Afterwards in D2 and afterwards in Binh Chanh the air is a little better.

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/persp … 75990.html

The reason I left Saigon was due to air quality. Get yourself a good face mask, you may be surprised as to what you are breathing in.

The cloth masks that most locals use won't do much real good.  They may filter some particulate matter but won't stop carbon monoxide.  A friend had one with a charcoal filter which will help some in that respect.  Unfortunately, I do not know where he got it.  He was from AU and may have brought it with him.  I never wore a mask but that was only because I always felt they stifled my breathing.  It may have been psychological but the feeling still kept me from using them.

Here's another indicator.  We lived on the 17th floor of our apartment and chose to not install A/C because we did not feel a need based on temperature.  We found later that we were wrong as we had to wash our curtains every month even at that level.

THIGV :

The cloth masks that most locals use won't do much real good.  They may filter some particulate matter but won't stop carbon monoxide.  A friend had one with a charcoal filter which will help some in that respect.  Unfortunately, I do not know where he got it.  He was from AU and may have brought it with him.  I never wore a mask but that was only because I always felt they stifled my breathing.  It may have been psychological but the feeling still kept me from using them.

We have 3M respirators (with valves) of 3 different grades of coverage:  N95, P100, and N100:

N95 ; another N95P100 ; N100

Daughter wanted to make sure our lungs stay intact no matter the length of our stay, so she bought us 2 cases of each type, which filled up one 31" suitcase with expansion.  Tried to share with my relatives but none of them wanted to wear something that requires two extra seconds of efforts.   It'll be decades before we run out of them especially since we rarely need them in Vung Tau.

As they're respirators instead of plain face masks, breathing is not at all an issue.  I'll send a few to you to try when you return to VN.

Ciambella :
THIGV :

The cloth masks that most locals use won't do much real good.  They may filter some particulate matter but won't stop carbon monoxide.  A friend had one with a charcoal filter which will help some in that respect.  Unfortunately, I do not know where he got it.  He was from AU and may have brought it with him.  I never wore a mask but that was only because I always felt they stifled my breathing.  It may have been psychological but the feeling still kept me from using them.

We have 3M respirators (with valves) of 2 different grades of coverage:  N95 and N100:

N95 ; another N95N100 ; another N100

Daughter wanted to make sure our lungs stay intact no matter the length of our stay, so she bought us 2 cases of each type, which filled up one 31" suitcase with expansion.  It'll be decades before we run out of them especially since we rarely need them in Vung Tau.

As they're respirators instead of plain face masks, breathing is not at all an issue.

How much would each one cost if you could buy them here?

I have no idea.

Ciambella :

I have no idea.

😆

Ciambella :

We have 3M respirators (with valves) of 3 different grades of coverage:  N95, P100, and N100:

I know these well from my days in agriculture and used them whenever I could legally as an alternative to a heavy canister type respirator.   The exit valve helps a lot with comfort because you breath less of your own CO2 which is the problem with the cloth masks.   The fit is also better, giving you a better edge seal.  If you read the specs, they are all particulate filters so I still don't think they will filter out CO (carbon monoxide) but they definitely are a step up.

Another note, the disposable hospital type masks with the pleats are really designed to prevent you from spreading your germs and not for incoming air.  They have a lot of room around the edges.

Ciambella :
THIGV :

The cloth masks that most locals use won't do much real good.  They may filter some particulate matter but won't stop carbon monoxide.  A friend had one with a charcoal filter which will help some in that respect. Unfortunately, I do not know where he got it.  He was from AU and may have brought it with him.  I never wore a mask but that was only because I always felt they stifled my breathing.  It may have been psychological but the feeling still kept me from using them.

We have 3M respirators (with valves) of 3 different grades of coverage:  N95, P100, and N100:

N95 ; another N95P100 ; N100

Daughter wanted to make sure our lungs stay intact no matter the length of our stay, so she bought us 2 cases of each type, which filled up one 31" suitcase with expansion.  Tried to share with my relatives but none of them wanted to wear something that requires two extra seconds of efforts.   It'll be decades before we run out of them especially since we rarely need them in Vung Tau.

As they're respirators instead of plain face masks, breathing is not at all an issue.  I'll send a few to you to try when you return to VN.

Thast right THIGV, the cloth masks that the locals wear do almost nothing in terms of protection

Unfortunately those 3m masks also wont do the trick, they are "particulate" masks, which are great for dust and particles in the air, but they do nothing for vapors , chemicals or gasses.

You need a mask made specifically for those

I wore a combination of a carbon filter mask with a secondary cloth one that looks better and goes on top of the carbon, it really holds it in place and did a great job , I know because I didn't feel sick from the air anymore after walking around .

But long term I wouldn't trust anything other then a vapor respirator

1willy1 :

I wore a combination of a carbon filter mask with a secondary cloth one that looks better and goes on top of the carbon, it really holds it in place and did a great job , I know because I didn't feel sick from the air anymore after walking around .

Where did you get the carbon filter mask?

You have to wear a mask. If i go out on my moto & dont wear a mask i start to cough, have burning sensation in my eyes. Just look at the trucks, busses, cars & motorbikes that need the engine air filters cleaned or combustion system repaired or serviced. They are spewing out black smoke & its all going somewhere & you are breathing it. Also the amount of motorbikes with worn out engines spewing out Blue smoke cos the engine is burning oil!!

Living in Saigon since 2008 and confirmed Atopic Dermatitis in the last test in Q5 University Medical Center and now under antihistamine medication :D
Bought one case Sapporo and some sparkling wine for TET but cannot use!
Now turning to veg life :D

Saigon pollution is bit high for my skin so started Charma Vietnam in 2013 :D
I really tried to escape from Saigon but no way because of business so skipped Da Lat plan! I like Da Lat weather and food.
Using face mask when ride motorbike but as a man, I couldn't wear a 'purdah' :D
Now living in 4th floor of an apartment so more pollution from surrounded streets. I think I should have to make a glass chamber  in office but outing will be difficult!

DiandraL :

I have developed this constant cough

It take longer than normal to cure cough for me with mild medicines. Otherwise need something like Benadryl

charmavietnam :
DiandraL :

I have developed this constant cough

It take longer than normal to cure cough for me with mild medicines. Otherwise need something like Benadryl

From my own experience as a singer, an Army Clinical Specialist and a Registered Nurse, antihistamines are NOT a good first choice for these symptoms.

While it's possible this is a true allergic reaction, Benadryl would not be my first recommendation.

The OP is describing something resembling "Reactive Airway Syndrome". It's less about allergies and more about IRRITATION and DEHYDRATION.

So it won't hurt to use the masks.

Most important will be to keep the mucosa of the airways moist, as that allows the body to best process the foreign particulate matter in the air.

You likely have post-nasal drip irritating your throat, triggering a hacking cough and dumping globs of snot down the back of your throat, giving you fresh crud to cough up all the time.

My EENT specialist always recommends some simple steps:

1. Hydration: Drink more fluids. Especially start the day with warm water and lemon/lime juice.

2. Cut back on caffeine. It dries you up as it acts as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more.

3. Aspirin or Ibuprofen or any Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAIDS) will lessen the tissue inflammation which is making things worse in your sinuses, throat and airway.

4. IF you try other drugs, the first best choice is a DECONGESTANT, not an antihistamine. It will THIN out the postnasal drip, allowing the natural thin layer of mucous moisture to soothe your throat, and stop the irritation of the drip.

5. If you smoke, ignore everything I've said (he included hanging out in smoky clubs, since I was singing in them).

Antihistamines are for an allergic reaction, and while you MIGHT need one, proceed with CAUTION. (For itching eyes, use eye drops).

An antihistamine like Benadryl will DRY your mucosa and thicken the already irritating postnasal drip.

If this is Reactive Airway Syndrome, you could very quickly progress into bronchitis and even asthmatic wheezing.

This happens MUCH more often than commonly known.

Of course, these are just my opinions, sharing what has worked for me for 40 years.

It's how I learned to treat similar symptoms for soldiers on sick call in The Army.

I hope you feel better.

Thank you for your reply! From what you described it sounds more like what I have. I will take your advice.

OceanBeach92107 :

2. Cut back on caffeine. It dries you up as it acts as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more.

This statement is outdated and no longer applies.
https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/is-c … -diuretic/

Andy Passenger :
OceanBeach92107 :

2. Cut back on caffeine. It dries you up as it acts as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more.

This statement is outdated and no longer applies.
https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/is-c … -diuretic/

That's a great example of why I don't get my scientific information from Readers Digest.

On the face of it, the article makes a point, but a small point, about coffee being able to hydrate a person.

However, it doesn't address what's relevant in the OP's case:

Cup for cup, coffee will (fact) cause a higher rate of diuresis than will water. Caffeine IS the causative agent. So someone wanting to hydrate themselves should "cut back" (I said) on the caffeine and increase their intake of non-caffeinated beverages.

Five cups of coffee WILL result in less NET hydration than five cups of water.

Technically, the caffeinated beverage is not causing dehydration, just less hydration than other beverages.

While we are on the subject, fruit juices are even better than water (for this specific purpose of hydration) because the fructose converts into glucose in the blood, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin. Insulin causes fluid retention which means it ends up increasing NET hydration of the important tissue of the mucosa.

Also, salt causes fluid retention, which is one reason why chicken soup (and other salty liquids) further improve tissue hydration and quicker healing from respiratory tract disorders.

So eating phở might be helpful as well 🙂

I wonder WTP (what-the-phở) Readers Digest has to say about that?

😁

OceanBeach92107 :
Andy Passenger :
OceanBeach92107 :

2. Cut back on caffeine. It dries you up as it acts as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more.

This statement is outdated and no longer applies.
https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/is-c … -diuretic/

That's a great example of why I don't get my scientific information from Readers Digest.

On the face of it, the article makes a point, but a small point, about coffee being able to hydrate a person.

However, it doesn't address what's relevant in the OP's case:

Cup for cup, coffee will (fact) cause a higher rate of diuresis than will water. Caffeine IS the causative agent. So someone wanting to hydrate themselves should "cut back" (I said) on the caffeine and increase their intake of non-caffeinated beverages.

Five cups of coffee WILL result in less NET hydration than five cups of water.

Technically, the caffeinated beverage is not causing dehydration, just less hydration than other beverages.

While we are on the subject, fruit juices are even better than water (for this specific purpose of hydration) because the fructose converts into glucose in the blood, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin. Insulin causes fluid retention which means it ends up increasing NET hydration of the important tissue of the mucosa.

Also, salt causes fluid retention, which is one reason why chicken soup (and other salty liquids) further improve tissue hydration and quicker healing from respiratory tract disorders.

So eating phở might be helpful as well 🙂

I wonder WTP (what-the-phở) Readers Digest has to say about that?

😁

I've known about this for a long time from several other sources. Readers Digest was only the first usable English Google hit.

There are still some corrected studies.
E.g. about spinach, eggs or nuts.

I am Vietnamese American and I have stayed in an 3rd floor apartment on corner of Pasteur and Le Loi streets which are always busy with cars, trucks and moto bikes. I have been here for two years now. I also learned a thing or two about air pollution in Saigon.
Others have said enough about air pollution outside. One thing I found out is the air pollution inside your room. Usually there is a floor drain in the bathroom which needs a little bit of water to prevent methane gas from the sewer lines to enter you room. In the US. Canada and Australia (which I had been to) have something called P trap installed right under sinks to stop sewage gas from coming to the room. Most of the houses in VN do not have this.
Check you bath room to see if the floor drain has a cap on top. It not, do request your landlord/host to give you one.
If the sink where you stay does not have the P trap, request if the owner can install one. It is for the benefit of you and his/her future guests.
Do open windows for 30 minutes or so each day to let out any bad gas from sewage inside your room.
The next time you are looking for a place to stay, keep those in mind.
Exercise the followings might help minimize exposing to air pollution in Saigon:
- Try to avoid being on busy streets during rush hours.
- Do wear mask (any is better than none) when you are out and about.
- Try not to sit on sidewalks or open air shops on busy streets for long period of time.
It seems to me you have low tolerance for poor air conditions. So do use any recommended típs on other posts that you see fit to protect yourself.
And for face masks with activated charcoal to absorb CO and other exhaust gases, some street vendors who sell masks have, some don't. They are called " khẩu trang (mask) (has) than (activated charcoal). They are grey in color.
I work at a nail salon called Vera Nails & Spa on 67 Pasteur St, Ben Nghe Ward, D1. if you need any information about Saigon and if you are close by, stop by and we love to help.
Cheers.

I think it's simply not worth it to live in the largest cities in Việt Nam and other countries as well.

The situation is bad now and will only get worse.

Slowly, but surely, an invisible poison is choking Vietnamese cities

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/persp … 75990.html

johnross23 :

I think it's simply not worth it to live in the largest cities in Việt Nam and other countries as well.

The situation is bad now and will only get worse.

Slowly, but surely, an invisible poison is choking Vietnamese cities

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/persp … 75990.html

This was an interesting article right up to the last paragraph when the author chose to condemn industrial agriculture, livestock farming and GMO's.  Regardless of how one feels about these things, GMO's in particular, they have nothing to do with particulate matter in the cities of Vietnam.

OceanView gave some good responses.
It may not be as much pollution as tyou think, but more like allergies,.

I always come to Vietnam with a decongestant. In fact, it's much coveted in my GF's mother's town,
I'd take an antihistamine also.

Wxx3 :

OceanView gave some good responses.
It may not be as much pollution as tyou think, but more like allergies,.

I always come to Vietnam with a decongestant. In fact, it's much coveted in my GF's mother's town,
I'd take an antihistamine also.

Some days I REALLY miss pseudoephedrine...

😨

i just googled them and OMG, do you wear them all of the time? at home as well? We plan to live in Saigon for 4 months, should we have them? I have to admit that its bit shocking coming from San Diego California.  Is there an area in Sagon where these mask would not be really necessary?

MargaretElizabeth :

Is there an area in Sagon where these mask would not be really necessary?

In suburbs about 500m away from the busy roads, or between midnight and 5 o'clock in the morning.

If I had breathing, lung or skin problems I would never live in a city like HCMC.

MargaretElizabeth :

i just googled them and OMG, do you wear them all of the time? at home as well? We plan to live in Saigon for 4 months, should we have them? I have to admit that its bit shocking coming from San Diego California.  Is there an area in Sagon where these mask would not be really necessary?

You don't have to wear a mask, many people don't. The air quality in Saigon is low and the dust count is high. It's all up to you.

MargaretElizabeth :

i just googled them and OMG, do you wear them all of the time? at home as well? We plan to live in Saigon for 4 months, should we have them? I have to admit that its bit shocking coming from San Diego California.  Is there an area in Sagon where these mask would not be really necessary?

As a San Diego native I can safely say, with the money you save in lower cost of living here, you can afford to install screens, even in a rental apartment, as I did (for about $150 USD).

That will take care of the large particulate matter (yes, even here in Đà Nẵng).

Also, you will be able to afford a smart investment in air filtration appliances on those days you want to seal the windows shut.

Also, most properties rented to foreigners have air conditioning units.

I'd be more scared of mold than the crud in the air.

However, all of my friends tell me to avoid the air in HCMC.

It's a bit like living at 7th and Wilshire in Los Angeles, from what I've heard.

Cheers!

THIGV :
1willy1 :

I wore a combination of a carbon filter mask with a secondary cloth one that looks better and goes on top of the carbon, it really holds it in place and did a great job , I know because I didn't feel sick from the air anymore after walking around .

Where did you get the carbon filter mask?

sorry I missed this

I got the masks from the pharmacy right beside "Annung Gourmet Market " in siagon centre


Its right at the exit , beside the sushi place with the revolving trolley thing

1willy1 :

I got the masks from the pharmacy right beside "Annung Gourmet Market " in siagon centre

Given the location, they must have been expensive.  Of course what are your lungs worth.   :top:   Remember that the absorptive capacity of the charcoal is limited so you will need to change the inner mask on some interval.

I have a corp sponsor, and can't really give access....but this is the newest info from Int'l SOS.

Int'l SOS Air Pollution Document

I agree with you on this. The so call fast developing countries are experiencing growing pains. One of them is air, water pollution. International companies set up factories to take advantage of cheap labor, cheap lands, weak governmental control. the working class in these countries need to be more mobile. So more vehicles are on the roads to take them from one place to another, pollution. Better jobs means more money in their pockets, so they live better, meaning more consumption. This means more delivery trucks on the roads, more pollution. More consumption results more trash. Without good infastructure, this trash will end up pollute the water. Overal the natural beauty is ruined.
So if we visit a busy city in a fast developing country, I think we should learn how to prevent us from getting sick from pollution and make it one of the top concerns.

I agree with you on this. The so call fast developing countries are experiencing growing pains. One of them is air, water pollution. International companies set up factories to take advantage of cheap labor, cheap lands, weak governmental control. the working class in these countries need to be more mobile.



So more vehicles are on the roads to take them from one place to another, pollution. Better jobs means more money in their pockets, so they live better, meaning more consumption. This means more delivery trucks on the roads, more pollution. More consumption results more trash. Without good infastructure, this trash will end up pollute the water. Overal the natural beauty is ruined.
So if we visit a busy city in a fast developing country, I think we should learn how to prevent us from getting sick from pollution and make it one of the top concerns.


I do understand your reasoning, but try and take a a look at the situation from a VN perspective (or any developing nation).

300 years ago, America was being exploiting by families now held iis high regard; the Carnegies, DuPonts, Mellons, etc.  Child labor, pollution, rampant corruption and incredible destruction was happening in the US, UK, and AUS.  The Dutch plundered earlier, along with Spain, and Portugal, et al.

Living conditions were horrific for working class Europeans.  Average Western lifespan was very low.

Many SE Asian countries , now with hindsight, ask 'why is it not our chance?'....it's a new PC world, closer and smaller via technology, but what gives the West the right to admonish people about the exact things , by most accounts, that were thrust upon them for centuries?

Not trying to spark a big debate, but if your ancestors had been enslaved via a myriad of  horrible tactics, you might now want your slice of the pie :-)

I don't feel that veranails&spa was making as much a moral judgement as he was simply reciting the facts as he, probably correctly, sees them.

I buy activated charcoal from an aquarium shop.  A friend manages a coconut shell activated carbon processing facility in Can Tho.  It is laborious to change it frequently, but it helps air & water filters....fishies seem happy.

GuidoVN :

I agree with you on this. The so call fast developing countries are experiencing growing pains. One of them is air, water pollution. International companies set up factories to take advantage of cheap labor, cheap lands, weak governmental control. the working class in these countries need to be more mobile.



So more vehicles are on the roads to take them from one place to another, pollution. Better jobs means more money in their pockets, so they live better, meaning more consumption. This means more delivery trucks on the roads, more pollution. More consumption results more trash. Without good infastructure, this trash will end up pollute the water. Overal the natural beauty is ruined.
So if we visit a busy city in a fast developing country, I think we should learn how to prevent us from getting sick from pollution and make it one of the top concerns.


I do understand your reasoning, but try and take a a look at the situation from a VN perspective (or any developing nation).

300 years ago, America was being exploiting by families now held iis high regard; the Carnegies, DuPonts, Mellons, etc.  Child labor, pollution, rampant corruption and incredible destruction was happening in the US, UK, and AUS.  The Dutch plundered earlier, along with Spain, and Portugal, et al.

Living conditions were horrific for working class Europeans.  Average Western lifespan was very low.

Many SE Asian countries , now with hindsight, ask 'why is it not our chance?'....it's a new PC world, closer and smaller via technology, but what gives the West the right to admonish people about the exact things , by most accounts, that were thrust upon them for centuries?

Not trying to spark a big debate, but if your ancestors had been enslaved via a myriad of  horrible tactics, you might now want your slice of the pie :-)

Australia wasnt colonised 300 years ago, so I doubt there was child labour, corruption or
pollution.

Hi,

I use AQBlue masks I buy in Black Market shop i n Thao Dien

I buy 10 for 320,000 vnd and it will last for a year.

I am very happy with it.

colinoscapee :

Australia wasnt colonised 300 years ago, so I doubt there was child labour, corruption or pollution.

Good catch.  Of course the original statement would be more valid if the number were 200 years but even then pollution was certainly limited.

The US is observing the dubious distinction of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Virginia,   Our government has operated under our constitution since 1789.  The US is often portrayed as a young nation, but at 230 years the US is one of the oldest governmental entities in the world.   Other nations may be much older but all but a few have undergone significant organizational shifts over that period.  The Vietnam of today could be said to have been born with Ho's Declaration of Independence in 1945, or if you like even later with Thống Nhất in 1975.

You made me craving for a good bowl of home made chicken soup with crackers

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