Soon the hay fever season starts again in Japan. This year seems to become especially challenging as last summer had been warmer and drier than usual. The common pollen origins are cedar and cypress trees, which had been planted almost everywhere as a national war recovery project. Now many years later the consequences can be felt by many hay fever sufferers in Japan. According to Japan Times Norio Sahashi (chairman of the Palaeontological Society of Japan, director of the Association of Pollen Information) the high temperatures, low rainfall and abundant sunshine last summer were conducive to producing abundant cedar and cypress spores. It seems that the said pollen levels in most regions of Japan will be around the double than the average over the past decade. Soon the first cedar pollen will start to fly around (usually from early February to early May), when the cypress pollen are expected to be found from early March to mid-May.
So what are the general recommended prevention steps for the hay fever sufferers. According to the Nikkei Shimbun based on the feedback from 1030 Japanese hay fever patients, the most recommended tasks are as below.
1. Wearing a mask
2. Gargle each time after coming back inside
3. Thoroughly washing hands each time after coming back inside
4. Keeping windows closed as much as possible
5. Using air cleaning equipments inside
6. Keeping the time outside to an absolute minimum
7. Dusting off hair and clothes after coming back inside
8. Keeping clothes inside to dry (instead of usually drying them outside)
9. Washing one’s face after coming back in
10. Rinsing one’s nose
While it is great business news for some of the pharmaceutical companies or drug stores that their sales are expected to increase this year, for the hay fever sufferers this year seems to become very troublesome. Over the years according to Koichi Iwai (president of Phadia K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of a Sweden-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in allergy testing) data from a 2009 report on nasal allergies showed the prevalence of pollen allergies in Japan had increased from 19.6 percent in 1998 to 29.8 percent in the following 10 years. For sure I wish everyone a uneventful Spring!
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)