Category Archives: Medicine

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?

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This Is Why We Must Vaccinate

I saw this story on Facebook, and thought I’d let you see it yourself. You can go directly to the Facebook post here.

Riley was a 32 day old baby in Australia who contracted pertussis, which then developed into pneumonia. The story details how his last 24 hours were. It’s a heartbreaking story, and one that could have been prevented. You can view the entire Facebook page here.

Children that young cannot be vaccinated, though it appears that pregnant mothers can be vaccinated for pertussis, and the immunity is passed on to the baby. But if that’s not done, it’s important that everyone that can come in contact with a baby must be vaccinated. You see, anyone who is not vaccinated can be a carrier for a disease that could kill a baby, and they may not even know they have the disease until later. If they’re vaccinated, their body would fight the virus, and greatly reduce the chance of spreading the disease. This is part of what’s called herd immunity. This protects those who cannot be vaccinated, whether it’s because they’re too young or they have a compromised immune system. Personal or religious reasons for not getting vaccinated can endanger people.

So please, make sure your vaccinations are up to date. You may help save a child’s life and eradicate a disease.

My Stance on Three “Controversial” Topics

Controversial is in quotes, because it’s not actually controversial in the scientific community.  It’s only really controversial amongst fringe groups, the religious, and those who really have no clue about the scientific method.

Climate change exists.  There is overwhelming evidence for it.

Evolution happened.  It’s still happening.  We’ve seen it happen.  It’s not “just a theory,” it’s a scientific theory that explains the fact of evolution.

Vaccinations work.  They are important.  I can’t stand the anti-vaccination movement.  You’re clinging to “research” done by a discredited doctor who did no real scientific research into the supposed link between vaccines and autism.  All subsequent research has shown there is no link.

And that is my stance on these three issues.

Public Service Announcement

Needs to be read, especially by men of a certain age. This could save your life. Comments turned off for this post, please leave comments on the original post.

Entertaining Stories

I’m going to invite everyone to re-blog, tweet, and otherwise share this post today. We all wish our posts got that much love, but this one is important. If you are a man, love a man, or maybe both, this post is important.

I debated long and hard about sharing this at all. It involves personal information, and I like to keep a bit of privacy. I had to weigh the fact that my mother reads this blog, along with at least two co-workers, against the possibility of helping someone else. Someone else won.

Popular rumor holds that a man should have certain things checked medically once he turns 50. In typical male fashion, I waited until I was 53 and 8 months to schedule my colonoscopy. This is a degrading procedure that involves shoving a camera into places that aren’t visible by design. I thought it was degrading, but…

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2015 already trying to compete with 2014 for most measles outbreaks!

Education is a very important thing to me. Using our knowledge for good is extremely important. Spreading misinformation can be potentially extremely dangerous. Take the anti-vaccination movement for example. It’s helping diseases make comebacks, such as measles and pertussis (whooping cough). The latter is incredibly dangerous for young children who are too young to be vaccinated. Herd immunity is a necessity for them. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Never been proven or even remotely linked to autism, other than by a fraudulent doctor whose research proved to be completely fabricated. If you believe Jenny McCarthy and are actively promoting what she says, you are a bloody idiot. That is all. Please read this post.

CauseScience

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Looks like 2015 is starting early with outbreaks of measles… perhaps continuing last years’ trend (see above).

Today there were reports of a potential outbreak of measles in Colorado Springs that may include exposure of ~300 people. The Colorado case is related to the measles outbreak and exposures at DisneyLand in California.

More than two dozen cases of measles have now been linked to Disney theme parks in Southern California.

The California Department of Public Health reported seven more cases on Monday, bringing the total number to 26 people in four states.

Health officials say at least 8 of those infected had not been vaccinated.

Measles outbreaks like these, and those last year, serve as a stark reminder that measles is a serious disease that needs to be continually vaccinated against. The dangerous and anti-science trend of not vaccinating children against measles and other diseases will continue to raise its…

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