Beijing residents have taken to wise cracks and jokes to cope with the dire air situation.
Air cleaners and air purifiers have also been flying off the shelves.
In the past few days, jokes on the choking smog blanketing Beijing have become one of the most discussed threads on China's microblogging site Sina Weibo, Xinhua news agency reported.
Here is one of them: "The longest distance in the world is not that between life and death, but when I hold your hand at a crossing in Beijing, I can't see your face."
But despite the light-hearted approach to the pernicious atmosphere, the capital's residents are feeling the impact of what is the most severe bout of smog in Beijing since July.
They are avoiding the outdoors and paying good money to protect themselves indoors.
According to a sales representative of electrical appliance brand Sharp, Mr Zhang, sales of air purifiers almost doubled in the past two days.
Ms Fu Baoling, a retired worker, bought a purifier for 2,100 yuan (S$435).
She said: "My granddaughter is young, so I bought this especially for her. I don't know whether this is effective or not. I just hope the sky will clear up soon."
Ms Dou Chen, who returned from the UK to China in February, said she has been suffering from a nettle rash for five months. A blood test found that she is allergic to substances in the air.
A staff member with the Beijing Children's Hospital told Xinhua that they have been told to prepare for a peak in respiratory problems.
This article was first published on Oct 12, 2014.
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