Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pollen season expected to peak in late February

Pollen season expected to peak in late February

Well, fart.  We planned to get a jump on hay fever season early this year, and it's decided to one-up us in turn.  Seasonal allergies are no joke here in Japan.  While they can be pretty severe just about anywhere, apparently a cedar-planting program following WWII has turned spring into an annual misery for people living here.  My first few years here were relatively allergy-free, but exposure over time has caused me to become just as susceptible to hay fever as anyone.  My wife is fortunately allergy-free, but last year I experienced the full force of pollen-induced sneezing, runny nose, clogged sinuses and many, many sleepless nights.  It wasn't like having a mild cold for over a month.  It was like having a severe one.

There are masks and nasal sprays, antihistamine pills and even salves you dab in your nostrils or clear plugs to shove in there, but these only turn down the pain a notch, from a Spinal Tap-like 11 to a Who-ish 10.  Last year's allergies were an Isle of Wight experience, the nasal equivalent of being stuck inside Pete Townshend's amp.  For three weeks.  One of my friends rarely sets foot outside his house during the season's peak.  I have no choice.  I have to walk to work and we rarely close the windows at our school.  You know what this means.

I'm going to make an appointment with an allergy specialist as soon as possible and see if I can't take action before things get out of hand this year.

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