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catching a cold in japan

7 Tips to Avoid Catching a Cold This Season in Japan – The Japanese Way

By Guidable Writers Nov 22, 2022

Are you always catching a cold during flu season in Japan? Do you constantly have the sniffles or a sore throat? Being sick all the time is a miserable experience. As a person of tropical country descent, I sometimes wish Japan didn’t get so cold. After experiencing the novelty of snow a few times, I felt that Autumn and Winter are all about freezing winds, influenza and getting perpetually sick.

Nevertheless, the cold comes inevitably. Some people are resigned that no matter how healthy you eat, you are doomed to catch a cold. The reasons for catching a cold are often:

you caught a virus, your body couldn’t adapt to the temperature, lack of sleep and over-exhaustion.

How to Avoid Catching a Cold the Japanese Way

If you are always sick during the cold season or you never get any better, a simple change of your daily habits is likely the answer.

These easy solutions may all seem like “common sense” habits to the Japanese and those born in a cold climate, but if you’ve never experienced winter, how do you know?

1. Wear Clothing Appropriate to the Season. And if You’re Not Sure of the Day’s Temperature, Make Use of Several Layers of Thin Clothing.

Not sure how to shop for cold-weather clothing? What works best is wearing several thin shirts layered on top of one another. Put on 5 or 6 layers to fight the freezing mornings. When the weather turns hot, take off layers to keep from sweating. It’s much warmer than it looks, compared to a puffy woolen overcoat, and you can move more freely. Adjusting your clothing to the temperature is important because if you start sweating from wearing that huge woolly coat, you are also likely to catch a cold. Wearing several layers works inside the home just as well.

2. Keep Tabs on the Humidity of Your Bedroom

If you feel a constant itchiness or pain in your throat, the air might be too dry, especially if you’ve been using your air con as a heater. If the air is dry, and you can’t afford to buy a humidifier, simply hanging a wet towel somewhere in the room works wonders. Some people hang their laundry in front of their air conditioner during the winter season.

3. Do You Know All Your Allergies? You Might Be Reacting to Pollen in the Air


Image credits: Canva.com

Some people are surprised to find that hayfever occurs not just in Spring, but other times during the year. Mugwort and ragweed pollen plague the atmosphere during Autumn, and the symptoms can be just as bad or worse than cedar in Spring. If your nose keeps running, you sneeze violently and often, and your eyes are sometimes a bit itchy, it could be a sign you have an allergy. Try wearing a mask, and if you are able to breathe easier, it could be time to take an allergy test. You can get an allergy reaction test at the jibika (耳鼻科), the ear, nose, and throat specialist doctor. Once you know your allergies, you can take the proper medicine that stifles your allergic reactions, and you will be breathing easier.

4. Curb the Cold And Warm Your Body with a Bath Every Night

having a bath to curb a cold

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It’s believed in Japan that people who take a warm bath frequently before bed are less likely to catch colds. But be careful! Do NOT let your body cool down suddenly right after your bath, or you will get sick. Dry your hair quickly and dress nice and cozy.

5. Wash Your Hands Frequently and Gargle

gargle to curb a cold

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This is probably something you do so often you could do it in your sleep now, post-pandemic. Take a whole minute when washing your hands, and don’t forget to wash your wrists as well. As well as washing hands, people in Japan recommend you gargle with water to rinse out your mouth. An alternative to gargling is drinking hot green tea. The catechin in green tea helps disinfect the inside of your mouth and kills germs even as you take in the tea into your body.

6. Wear a Mask and Wear It Properly

wear a mask on the train

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The mask must completely cover your nose and mouth without any gaps to the sides and around the nose. To wear a mask properly you must bend the wire part at the top to mold on your nose perfectly, stretch the mask vertically to cover down to the chin. If you are wearing glasses and the mask makes your glasses fog, fold down the wired side so that it ensures your breath doesn’t leaking upwards.

7. Make Sure Your Stomach is Covered When You Sleep

It’s believed in Japan that cold stomachs bring on colds, especially when sleeping.

If you find your shirt starts riding up while you’re sleeping, get yourself a haramaki, a stomach wrap, and put it on right before going to bed. Haramakis can make your whole middle feel nice and cozy, warming your whole body. The only problem is that it won’t look pretty with your negligee!

Ward Off a Cold With These Japanese Methods

So there it is, the habits that the Japanese know and that will keep you from always catching a cold. Because you don’t want to always turn up at work sniffling or coughing all the time. Don’t let that cold virus beat you! Follow the right habits and be at your 100% throughout the year! Because you want to enjoy your time in Japan healthy and happy throughout the year.

Tricia, Philippines

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