Toxic air setback

All my projects have been sidelined lately because of a bad cold that completely sapped my strength. When it was at its worst I couldn’t sleep through the night, and during the day I couldn’t do anything except listen to health lectures on YouTube. It took a full three weeks for my sore throat to go away. Then it came back, a little.

Now, after four weeks, I’ve recovered—but there’s still this persistent cough.

I’m pretty sure the trigger was exposure to fine dust, which has been relentless here in Seoul over the past few months. And I suspect this is the new normal, because the air quality doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

I bought a secondhand air purifier, which I’m still learning how to use. I downloaded an app called MiseMise, which warns users with devil faces and gas mask icons when the pollution is bad. It often tells me, “Absolutely don’t go out.”

So I’m getting used to buying face masks, checking to see which ones are certified for quality, and wearing them more consistently. But they’re uncomfortable, and some kinds seem to filter out the oxygen along with the fine dust. Some kinds dent my face.

Does everyone just have to get used to this?

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