Archive for May, 2013

Bird Flu Shouldn’t Affect Travel to China

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said recently that despite the outbreak of H7N9 bird cases and the widespread incidence of air pollution, China is still a safe destination for tourists.
Though bird flu cases continue to grow, they are  relatively small in number, with only a few fatalities.    However, the CDC  does offer preventative measures to tourists visiting China concerning bird flu.  It says:
  • stay clear of open air markets which offer chickens and other fowl for sale
  • do not touch live or dead birds
  • eat chicken thoroughly cooked
  • avoid street vendor food.
Air pollution is more of concern and widespread in China .  Seth Kugel, columnist for the Frugal Traveler of the New York Times said that on a trip to the Southwestern city of Chongqing. At night the “air pollution was burning his nose.”  A friend from that area joked “well the pollution isn’t as bad as in Beijing.”
In January 2013, the American Embassy issued a report on the air quality based on a scale (large air particles) set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  With a “hazardous” air quality topping out at 500, Beijing’s air was a whopping 755 at 8PM one January evening.  People were seen wearing masks and the embassy suggested that all tourists should stay indoors until the air quality improved.
Tourists with asthmatic or respiratory problems, says the Embassy, should avoid traveling to Beijing in the winter when pollution is the worst and other big cities  like Shanghai. The best seasons to travel to China is late summer and autumn.  They should also listen to Embassy air pollution reports daily.
For relatively pollution-free tourist sites, tourist operators suggest the mountains of Changbabaishan, the highlands of Yunnan Province and Tibet for American tourists, as well as most coastal areas  and the islands of Hong Kong.
For more on the CDC guidelines for travel to China visit CDC Health Information for Travelers

Have questions about immunizations? If you live in the NYC area contact my office at 866-632-5537 for assistance with your allergy, asthma, sinus or immunological concerns.

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