Avoiding Summer Dangers

Summer is in full swing, and in Xi’an that means soaring temperatures and a rise in humidity. This presents challenges and if you are coming here from cooler climates


Mosquitoes are at the least one of the most annoying creatures to plague our summers, and at the worst they can carry diseases that are guaranteed to put a hold on your happy summer. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, which seems to be everywhere here. And somehow, even when your apartment is sealed up tight, they find a way to make it in. (I blame poorly sealed drainage pipes in the bathrooms). Either way, there are several solutions to prevent the critters from biting.

If you just want some personal protection while walking outside or sitting at your favorite barbeque, pick up some 花露水 (hualushui), which should help to keep the biters away. If you want some sleeping security, there are various types of 灭蚊灯 and 灭蚊香 (electric mosquito repellents and mosquito repellent incense) that can help keep rooms clear.

If these remedies aren’t aggressive enough for you, pick up a 灭蚊怕, which is basically an electrified tennis racket with a fine metal mesh net in the center that is electrified. Enjoy hunting down and electrocuting that annoying mosquito that has been dive bombing your head.


Humidity is the enemy of many bright summer days, as the added thickness of the air will make you sweat worse than you thought was possible. While it might not be as bad in Xi’an as it is in some of the coastal cities (I’m looking at you, Shanghai), it still gets relatively humid in the summers, and paired with temperatures that reach into the 40s, it can become unbearable.

When it comes to the excessive sweating, there are a few remedies. First is strong antiperspirant, which can be difficult to find in shops, as it is not something that has caught on amongst many people, as a quick summer bus ride will reveal. While some Watsons stores will carry deodorants, it is not guaranteed in every shop, so your best bet is to search for 止汗剂 (zhihanji) on Taobao, or search the English name of the brand you are looking for. It is important to note that antiperspirant is not the same thing as deodorant, so check the labels in the pictures to be sure you are getting what you need.

Another simple solution to the excessive sweating is baby powder. This can be a bit messier than the first options, but baby powder is more readily available and can coat more evenly than most antiperspirants. Most pharmacies and supermarkets will be carrying baby powder in the personal care sections of the store.

Heat Exhaustion

As both the heat and humidity soar, the risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke become a very real possibility, especially for those in at risk groups or those unaccustomed to the heat. There is also a risk of symptoms showing when engaging in outdoor activities, such as cycling. Heat exhaustion can express itself in different ways, but some of the common symptoms include; headache, nausea/vomiting, fatigue/weakness, thirst, anxiety, poor coordination, weak/rapid pulse, excess sweating, heightened body temperature >38C.

If you or someone near you is experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun/heat as soon as possible, drink water (not too quickly or they might vomit), and, if possible, get them to take a cold shower or have them hold a cold, wet towel to their neck or inner thigh, as this will help cool them down faster.

Heat stroke is more severe than heat exhaustion, which, in addition to the above, includes – disorientation, dizziness, or slurred speech; a rapid pulse; extreme thirst; a dry, swollen tongue; convulsions or seizures; a body temperature >40C. People who may be experiencing heat stroke should get to the hospital ASAP, with an attempt to keep the body as cool as possible in the meantime.

Sun Burn

Sun burn used to be relatively rare in Xi’an, as the smog that covered the city was relatively impenetrable. These days, however, the air quality has generally improved (no, really), and there is an increase in the chance that you might pick up a sunburn. If you are off in the mountains hiking or out for an outdoor afternoon, then you might want to look into sun protection options.

Sunscreen is surprisingly available, at most Watson’s stores and some pharmacies, with the normal SPF going to about 50. If you want more (or less) protection, then searching online for 防晒霜 (fengshaishuang) and your preferred SPF level.

If it’s already too late for you and you went and got sunburned, aloe vera lotions are readily available as well. Just ask/search online for 芦荟膏 (luhuigao). You can find both local and international brands online, so choose one that you trust. If you are heading somewhere sunny this summer for vacation, better to buy both of these items before you go, as they charge a premium in places like Hainan.

Enjoy your Summer and Stay Safe!