Allergy Season Is Upon Us

Although it’s still late winter, the allergy season has already started in Japan. Pollen allergies are very common here, and I have become allergic to some pollen since coming to Japan.

The most common allergies to pollen in Japan are sugi (Cryptomeria japonica, or commonly and incorrectly called Japanese cedar) and hinoki (Japanese cypress). Thanks to an aggressive tree-planting scheme decades ago by the Japanese government, a huge number of sugi were planted all over the country. And because of this, the allergy has developed in a large number of Japanese (and some foreigners, like myself). My symptoms are pretty common: itchy mouth, itchy eyes, runny nose, and lots of sneezing.

Before I came to Japan, I had no known allergies. But I became sensitive to Cryptomeria pollen. But that’s not all I became allergic to. Now, fruit from the rose family affect me. I get an itchy mouth whenever I eat most fruits from that family. This includes apples, pears, apricots, peaches, and cherries. Interestingly enough, I’m not allergic to strawberries or raspberries. I don’t like plums, and I’ve never tried loquats, so I don’t know my reaction to those.

If the fruit are cooked or processed in any way, I have no trouble eating them. When I was a kid, I ate canned pears a lot, and I can still eat them that way.

Of course, as I was typing this, I had a severe sneeze attack. That was fun.

Anyone have seasonal pollen allergies?


20 thoughts on “Allergy Season Is Upon Us”

    1. It’s a warm, sunny day today, and we’re going out to the park for a bit of bird watching. Thankfully, I took medicine, and the pollen shouldn’t bother me.

      1. I don’t imagine anyone does. I have met people with allergies that crack the skin in lines you cold push a penny into, all she needed to do was not consume dairy, you would see her with achocolate eclaire, saying it’s a treat? I don’t understand how a poison ( how her body sees dairy) can ever be a treat!

        1. That can’t be a treat. I like apples, but I’m not going to eat a fresh one. I’ll be happy eating canned pears. That’s how I ate them growing up, anyway.

            1. Yeah. But I think with things like nuts and shrimp, the allergies can be so severe in children that they’re deadly. I think that’s why they delay it. But my daughter didn’t try either one until she was three. No problem with them, though she doesn’t really like shrimp.

            2. I just saw a piece on television news about an allergist who chose to introduce peanuts to his children as infants, which is now being found in some studies to cut down on the incidence of allergies, rather than increase them. There are also some children with severe peanut allergies that are being successfully de-sensitized with carefully controlled exposure.

            3. I’ve heard this is one method, and it works for some people. The problem with allergies to cryptomeria and cypress here in Japan is that this method is impossible. It’s in the air. But I can see it working with food.

            4. True. With pollen, mold, and other non-food allergies, you have to either treat symptoms or do allergy shots to try to desensitize. My husband and both of my daughters have had to do allergy shots.

  1. I do! You can also become allergic to something you haven’t been allergic to you’re whole life, our crazy immune systems!

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