Influenza season is almost upon us. Are you ready?
Firstly, the flu shot is all controversial and such, but is quite cheap in Japan at a variety of clinics, ranging from 2000 Yen to 5000 Yen.
What else can you do to avoid getting the bug? Lots! Welcome to prevention, the Japanese way! Remember, Japan is not Iowa. Less space, more people. You may have to change your habits and ways of thinking a little to stay healthy here. Use the tips below to be on your best form.
Sure, they are popular among school-aged girls for covering up their faces due to shyness. In the west, masks have a very negative image; think infectious diseases. This is simply not the case in Japan. Masks are practical, and just plain common sense. Not only do people wear masks to prevent getting sick, they wear them when they are sick as a sign of courtesy to others. Who wants to be the one that started the plague at the office? Not me.
You can buy a variety of disposable masks at drugstores, supermarkets, and discount stores. Lesson learned, however, go with the ones with the stretchy cotton ear holes if you are planning on wearing them for a few hours. The cheap ones with the elastic straps will dig into your cranium after awhile.
You can also buy crazy designed washable masks, but it is best to throw them germs right in the trash.
Sure, it sounds nasty and uncivilized. Kind of like you are coming to a slow, painful end. But, gargling with water, salt water, or iodine gargle pictured above will help you rid yourself of all sorts of nasty germs and garbage that accumulates during the day.
It is not considered rude to gargle in the office washroom before, during, and after your shift. Keep a bottle at work and at home. Just use common sense, don’t go gargle -crazy on the public streets, spitting in the drain. That is just plain gross.
It may seem like common-sense, but…many people, ladies and gents included, simply wash their hands far too infrequently. Germs are everywhere! Thankfully, so is soap and water. Ask yourself how many things you touch every day that have been touched by others! Money, phones, desks, handrails, you get the idea. The vast majority of public bathrooms in Japan have soap (although cold water is more popular than hot), so give them paws a scrub scrub, and be a little safer this season.
No, silly, not the beverage. Germ-killing alcohol hand spray or hand wipe is incredibly popular these days, following several large scale germ scares such as SARS and various animal flus. You can buy the stuff in bulk, travel sized, or just take advantage and use the free stuff found in supermarket entrances, sushi shops, bank counters, and the like. If you work in a Japanese office, you may walk in one morning finding your coworkers disinfecting someone’s desk with copious amounts of alcohol. That someone most likely called in sick with the flu, and your coworkers are looking out for everyone.
Now personally, I think these are just plain creepy. They look like oversized name tags you wear around your neck, or under your outer layer of clothing. The magic pack blocks germs and nasties from coming near your person. Hey, if it works, screw fashion!
Here’s to your health!