As the hay fever season approaches, doctors, weather forecasters and local authorities are predicting that Tokyo and two other metropolitan areas will suffer above-average pollen counts.
For Tokyo, this would be the fourth straight year for an unusually high pollen count.
Allergy-triggering cedar pollen is expected to descend on Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka in early February, earlier than normal, according to a recent forecast.
Dr. Shiro Yoshimura, who serves as a member of a pollen information association, is warning prospective victims to adopt proactive measures — including taking medication to control hay fever symptoms — around two weeks before the expected pollen release. These symptoms include itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose.
Pollen levels in Hokkaido, Kyushu and the Tohoku region will be relatively low this year, but a far larger volume of pollen is expected to be released nationwide by cedar and cypress trees than the average levels recorded over the past decade, according to a joint estimate compiled by the Japan Weather Association and other research institutes.
The Kinki region — including Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe — is expected to experience a pollen count nearly four times higher than the previous average, according to the estimate.
A forecast by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government indicates the capital will see a pollen count similar to last year’s, which was the second-highest on record.
In the western Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, the volume of pollen per square centimeter is expected to reach between 75 million and 100 million for the fourth consecutive year, the metropolitan government said.
Both Tohoku and southern Kyushu, where it rained a lot last summer, are expected to see lower-than-normal pollen levels, according to several forecasts.
But people in the Kinki and Tokai regions, which saw a sultry summer and little rain, are advised to be on their guard.
Pollen levels are believed to vary from winter to spring, affected primarily by the previous year’s summer temperatures and sunshine hours.
Various institutes produce their own forecasts based on climate data and information on germination in autumn.
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