Apr 26

Surviving in Japan: 6 Ways to Deal with Allergies in Japan

Posted by Ashley Thompson (Shizuoka-ken, 2008-2010) of Surviving in Japan: without much Japanese and Lifelines columnist for The Japan Times.

Surviving in Japan: Ashley Thompson

Ashley Thompson is "Surviving in Japan: without much Japanese."

Are you going to Japan, or in Japan, and wondering what to do about your allergies? I know the feeling. I’m allergic to mold and dust mites, which are especially hard to escape in Japan.. Last winter they somehow managed to debilitate me while allowing a little virus to invade my inner ear – labrynthitis. Labryawha? It’s a deep inner ear inflammation. Makes you dizzy, lightheaded and generally unable to move. Some people get vertigo, and motion sickness. Anyway, that all aside the point – you can read the full story here.

*Note: This post is about nasal allergies and rhinitis, rather than food allergies. Please also note I am not a medical professional, and if you have severe allergies you should seek a doctor’s advice and appropriate medication and/or treatment.

Allergies are quite prominent in Japan – with a large number of those suffering primarily from pollen type allergies. So if you too suffer from rhinitis, you will find a very allergy-friendly (so to speak) country in Japan. A few ways to deal:

1. Wear a mask – Folks in Japan wear a mask for a variety of reasons, but most notably to keep allergies in check or to prevent the spread of whatever illness they might currently be carrying. Personally, I avoid wearing the mask because it annoys me, but just saying.

2. Allergy meds – I won’t go into too many specifics, as those with allergies probably already use specific kinds of medicine. My doctor in the U.S. primarily prescribed me Flonase (a nasal spray), which is available in Japan, so if you use Flonase, you can get a prescription here as well (and much cheaper at that, with the national health insurance). Whatever prescription you have in your home country or whatever OTC meds you use, bring the info to a doctor in Japan to find what you need (or a similar alternative). You can also get Claritin by prescription here in Japan. The Japanese pronunciation is: クラリチン.

3. Drink beni fuuki (べにふうき) – a very strong, concentrated green tea. The taste is quite bitter compared with regular green tea, because of the concentration, but studies in Japan have shown that those who drink it have less histamine response – due to the higher number of catechins. Available in supermarkets and online. CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post.

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