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Why the linked page and nobody don't mention about the hay fever?


If you are living in Tokyo and you have pollen allergy, you too will wear masks all day.

Came here to post this. Japan has vast plantations of cedar (sugi) forests and a huge percentage of Japan's population is allergic to the pollen, which in spring can be seen in quantities large enough to form visible clouds.

When I lived over there, I only asked one guy why he wore the mask and he said allergies. After that I think I just assumed that was what it was about and the west had somehow bizarrely misconstrued it as being virus related. I wish I had asked a few more people now...

Does this also affect tourists? Since I don't live in Japan, I wouldn't expect to have an allergic response to a Japanese native tree.

I moved from Florida to Austin, to a neighborhood abundant with cedar trees and I went from never having seasonal allergies to owning every single allergy-mitigant device in existence (neti pots, hepa filters in every room, etc).

I honestly don't know if I've had a day without an allergic reaction in the last decade (the time I've been in Austin). My sinuses are a complete mess and I have to eat low inflammatory diets, give myself allergy injections, pop sudafed, etc.

That question is unsettled. Some say you are immune to the pollen allergy if you grew up to the adult without allergy. Some say you will develop allergy even after entering the adult age if you are exposed to a lot of pollen.

I was born in Japan and am living in Tokyo for 6 years. I have no pollen allergy for now fortunately.

The reverse would seem more likely - surely a native population is less likely to have a reaction to a native tree - otherwise adaption to their environment is fairly poor....

Allergies work differently from things like lactose intolerance: you are not born with allergies but develop them as a sort of misclassification from your immune system. Thus if you haven't been exposed to something you are unlikely to be allergic to it.

The article does imply that hay fever is a big factor when it references air polution and pollen from Japanese cedars.

> Then, in the 1950s, Japan’s rapid post-World War II industrialization led to rampant air pollution and booming growth of the pollen-rich Japanese cedar, which flourished due to rising ambient levels of carbon dioxide. Mask-wearing went from seasonal affectation to year-round habit.

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