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Top 10 Ways to Survive Hay Fever (kafunsho) Season in Japan

Hay fever or pollen allergy season is here. If you or your family members suffer from excessive sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose or a scratchy throat you might be experiencing an allergy from Japanese cedar pollen, or sugi tree, known as kafunsho (花粉症)/hay fever. We`ve listed a few ideas from Amazon.co.jp to help you and your loved ones survive hay fever season in Japan. The season runs from February to April. Please take care.

Unicharm Face Mask for hay feverhay fever Unicharm Mask for kids1. Wear a mask particularly the Unicharm face mask to help prevent the inhalation of pollen. Their masks are popular as they fit closer to the face, with fewer gaps, yet provide a space between the mask and the mouth that makes it easier to breathe. They offer smaller masks for kids as well.

Face Spray can be used for hay fever2. If a mask isn`t for you or your little ones, try a face spray (549 yen). Close your eyes then spray your entire face. The Cationic Polymer (positive ions) will help prevent fine particles from entering your nose and eyes (do not spray into your eyes).

hay fever Nasal Spray3. Use the Aibon Eye Wash to rinse the pollen and dirt particles from your eyes. Fill the cup to the line, place over your eye, blink a few times then dry. You can use this up to 3 times a day. I use it at night after a heavy pollen day. Please remove make up and contacts before usehay fever .

4. Use a nasal spray (tenbi-yaku 点鼻薬). These can be used up to three times a day depending on the type and dosage. Please consult your ENT for the best method of treatment for you.

Allegra for hay fever5. Take antihistamines. It`s possible to get Allegra (アレグラ), Claritin (クラリチン), Alesion (アレジオン), and Zyrtec (ジルテック) in your local pharmacy. Consult your ENT for the best method of treatment for you.

To reduce the overall amount of contact you have with pollen indoors try the following:

6. Invest in a good air filter. We use the Sharp Plasmacluster Humidifier and Air Cleaner – about 25,000 JPY – If you have a larger room (up to 24 tatami) this is a great humidifier and air cleaner. Great for adding moisture, but also removing dust, pollen and smells. Comes with a HEPA filter. The size is quite compact at width 39 × depth 23 × height 61cm, and only 7.7kg. Can work up to rooms in size of 23 tatami.

7.  Klennex Aqua Veil Tissue Paper (water lotion infused) five pack -430 JPY –  Never be short of tissue paper. This is not the normal type of paper which is harsh on runny noses it has special water lotion what makes it really soft. It is not wet tissue but instead infused with water like lotion which is dry to the touch but ultra soft.  No more lugging paper Scotch Bright mophome!

8. Boost your immune system by taking probiotics – they can make an impact on your recover. Probiotics in Japan can be found in Yogurt, Yakult drinks, Natto and Miso.
9. Wipe your floors with a damp mop — a vacuum cleaner will spread the pollen. Scotch Bright makes a light and easy to clean and store swiffer type mop.
10. Check the pollen forecast below. If the pollen counts are high keep your windows closed and dry your laundry indoors.

Japan Pollen Forecast

Click here for a week-long outlook of our local hay fever / pollen levels. Note: The site is in Japanese. Here`s a brief explanation on how to read the forecast. A chart, similar to the one to the left, will display the pollen counts for Tokyo Chiyoda-ku (千代田区). The first entry 2月15日(水) displays a small, smiling yellow square icon with four pollen balls beneath. One orange pollen ball ( 少ない) means low pollen count. Four orange pollen balls means it`s extreme (非常に多い). Please find the Pollen Scale and translation below.

Pollen Range:
1) 開始前:kaishimae: Pollen hasn`t been released yet.
2) 少ない: sukunai: A little
3) やや多い: yaya ooi: A good amount
4) 多い: ooi: A lot
5) 非常に多い:hijyouni ooi: Extreme
6) ほぼ終了:hobo shuryo: Pollen season is almost over.



 Top 10 Ways to Survive Hay Fever Season in Japan



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  1. What a weird spelling of “hijyoni”. Why do you use a “y”?

  2. Thanks for the article, very useful indeed. So when does pollen season really end?

    • Hi Dustan,
      Great question. Pollen season varies from year to year. This year, 2016, it`s predicted to end in early June. Good luck!

  3. I have been a long time sufferer of hay fever. I get runny nose, clogged nose and sneezing fits. I used to take antihistamine (Claritin) everyday but there are days when even this doesn’t help. Once while riding the train in Tokyo, I noticed ads for something called L-59 and there were charts showing how this has helped kafunsho sufferers. I did some research and it seems to be some kind of probiotic. I ordered probiotics and started taking them.The results were amazing. I didn’t have to take Claritin and I was allergy free. This is the probiotic I have been taking. https://jp.iherb.com/pr/Hyperbiotics-Pro-15-The-Perfect-Probiotic-5-Billion-CFU-60-Tablets/67300 There are cheaper alternatives such as this one https://jp.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Probiotic-10-25-Billion-50-Veggie-Caps/21130 but the hyperbiotics one doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be taken anytime. Probiotics has been the “magic pill” for kafunsho for me! Hope it helps you!

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