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Pollen season is underway in Japan and people who suffer allergies are being encouraged to take special care.
The Japanese Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is urging allergy sufferers to consult a doctor and start treatment early to prevent symptoms being confused with those of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
According to experts from the society, 73 percent of people infected with Omicron have runny noses, 60 percent sneeze, and more than half experience fatigue. Some people also report a smell disorder. All four symptoms are also experienced by allergy sufferers.
Fever and smell disorder are both reportedly less of a problem for people infected with Omicron than previous variants.
The society lists a series of risks for allergy sufferers:
- Pollen allergy symptoms make it hard to know if a coronavirus infection has been picked up.
- People infected with coronavirus who also suffer allergies are likely to sneeze and transmit the virus to people around them.
- The amount of droplets spread by a sneeze is more than 10 times that of a cough.
- Allergy sufferers can get infected with the virus if it comes into contact with their hands and they rub their itchy eyes and noses.
Consult a doctor
Cases have been recorded where people believe they have pollen allergies, but are later diagnosed with the coronavirus. It is recommended that allergy sufferers consult a doctor and seek early treatment to alleviate symptoms.
Pollen forecast up 50 percent for Tokyo
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is forecasting a 50 percent increase in the amount of both cedar and cypress pollen this spring compared with last year. Cedar pollen has been spreading since mid-February. The Japan Weather Association says its Tokyo peak will come this month.
Nationwide, the Japan Weather Association also expects more pollen this year, namely in the regions of Tokai, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshin, and Hokkaido. After this month's cedar pollen peak, cypress pollen will spread until the end of April.
This information is accurate as of March 1, 2022.