May 28

Surviving in Japan: How to Find Anti-itch, Insect Bite Medicine

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

This post is a follow-up to A Survival Guide to Mosquito Repellent in Japan, for those who try in vain but perhaps still end up with itchy, annoying bites (I know the feeling…). My first apartment in Japan was constantly bombarded with mosquitoes, as it was next to this swampy water pool. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t keep them all away. (Although I’m convinced I seem especially attractive to them – they go after me far more than my husband!)

I visited a drug store in the first month after my arrival in hopes of discovering some anti-itch cream, the kind you use for mosquito bites, but without any idea of what exactly to look for or what it was called. After browsing the walls and aisles of various items, still unsure of what to get, I asked one of the store employees for help. I looked up mosquito in the Japanese-English dictionary on my phone, showed her the result, pointed to some of the red welts on my hand and arm, and asked if they had anything for that. Fortunately for me at the time, she understood right away and led me to the anti-itch/insect bite medicine, pulling out a box of ムヒ (Muhi), which is a common brand here in Japan.

So, to help you in your search for anti-itch/insect bite medicine, and perhaps save you some trouble of finding what you need at the store, I’ve included some necessary words to know, and some of the common ingredients you’ll typically find in these types of medicine.

Words to Know

When searching for anti-itch, insect bite medicine, look for these words:

虫さされ      むしさされ       mushi sasare                insect bite (may also see as 虫刺され)
かゆみ                                    kayumi                           itching

Though the brand and item name are typically most prominent on any packaging, you’ll likely see 虫さされ and/or かゆみ somewhere on the box/bottle.

Depending on your personal preference, you can find anti-itch, insect bite medication in various forms, including the following:

gel          ジェル
lotion    ローション
patch     パッチ
cream   クリーム
liquid type 液体 (えきたい) (usually this rolls or dabs on)

If you want something “extra strength”, try looking for the following words, or something with “EX”: — CLICK HERE to read the rest of this post.

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