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The changing of seasons in Japan is beautiful to watch, but can also bring with it the discomfort of kafunshou. Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever’s symptoms include nasal congestion/runny nose, frequent sneezing and itchy and/or watery eyes. Hay fever in Japan occurs in the spring, when the pollen from cedar and cypress trees is abundant in the air. Someone with an allergy to pollen will have a strong immune response to these airborne particles, triggering the release of histamine, which can result in those unpleasant symptoms.
For sufferers of hay fever in Japan, spring can be a long season. However, there are many ways to get relief so you don’t have to spend the next few months indoors. Medications available in drugstores include Stonarhini, Allegra and Aneton Almedi. A neti pot for cleansing the sinus passages can also be helpful to combat inflammation as well as eye drops. For those with stronger symptoms, seeing an otolaryngologist may be necessary, as they can prescribe stronger antihistamine or steroid medications like Claritin and Flonase. Certain patients may also opt for injections or even laser treatments to remove the mucous membrane within the nose that can trigger symptoms of hay fever.
In addition to hay fever medications, protective masks and glasses are common in Japan, to help shield the eyes, nose and mouth from pollen in the air. The masks can also help shield those around you from sneezes. You can use an air purifier or Clonitas products to remove pollen from the air around you at home or work. Do laundry regularly and try to avoid hanging clothing or linens outdoors or use a protective cover to avoid pollen from collecting on them. As for prevention, supplements like quercetin, probiotics and echinacea can help promote a healthy immune response.
With the blossoming of the plum and cherry trees, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors before the sweltering heat of summer sets in. Give these suggestions a try and you’ll make it survive the hay fever in Japan with a few less sniffles.