You wouldn’t think Japan and central Texas would have much in common. They clearly have very different landscapes. They are almost polar opposites in cooking and culture. And even the best Japanese native speakers must listen very carefully to understand the Texas speech.
A common health condition in both places, however, is an allergy to cedar fever. Known as “kafunso” in Japan and “cedar fever” in Texas, about 10 million people in both locations suffer from tree pollen allergies in the winter and early spring.
Cedar and juniper trees are abundant in both places. Japan planted cedars to reforest the hills burned during the war. The Texans planted “cedars” to replace trees eaten by hordes of goats. Both locations have large areas covered by a single type of fast-growing tree, approximately 12% of the total area of Japan and approximately 12% of the total area of Texas.
The symptoms of tree pollen allergies are compared to a case of non-infectious flu for 6-8 weeks each year. And it is very difficult to work if you have to take antihistamines and nose sprays for so long.
Treat tree pollen allergies with allergy shots
Since the 1960s, Texans have received treatment for tree pollen allergies with allergic desensitization shots. Japanese allergy sufferers will be able to get treatment in 2014, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
“Allergy shots” have been around since 1910. The idea behind the method is that if the body is exposed to an extremely small amount of the offensive substance by injection, it will not react. Increasingly concentrated injections are administered over a period of months until, hopefully, allergy sufferers no longer have any allergies.
There is a big disadvantage to this technique. If the “shot” contains too much allergen, potentially fatal anaphylaxis can occur. Texans were given antiallergic serum ampoules and were taught to give themselves injections at home, until too many gun users died of anaphylactic reactions.
Do Allergies Really Work?
Another question about this technique is whether it really works. Identifying exactly the right pollen to produce whey takes a lot of work, so patients usually get a “one mix treats all” serum which the allergist increases contains the right pollen. Maybe it does and maybe not.
The other problem is that allergies can disappear on their own, for no obvious reason, and they can return on their own, even for no obvious reason. You can take a long and expensive course of treatment for an allergy that you should have gone through or without taking shots, and you can also develop a new “point-blank” allergy.
Hits have their limits and drugs have their limits. So what should a pollen sufferer do?
Treatment of allergic rhinitis with massage.
One of the oldest therapies for allergies is acupressure. By applying gentle pressure to predetermined points on the body, acupressure is sometimes explained as interrupting, amplifying, decreasing or redirecting the flow of “chi” life force throughout the body. But you don’t have to understand or accept traditional Chinese medicine for acupressure to work for you.