Jan 10, 2019
In winter it is quite common to catch a cold; however, as most Japanese employers don't offer sick days, many employees have to use their vacation days to stay at home when they come down with a cold. As we do not want to waste our few vacation days on doing that it might be a good idea to take precautions that can reduce the chance of catching a cold.
Use humidifiers at home and at work
In Japan the air tends to get really dry in winter and in dry air bacteria can stay infectious for longer so it's a good idea to use humidifiers. You can get a regular humidifier in Japan for a few thousand yen. There are also several smaller models available that you can put on your work desk. Usually, they are charged via USB so you won't need a socket. During the winter months, when at least one of your colleagues is coughing and sneezing, you should be more careful at the workplace. Especially in Japanese open-plan offices where your colleagues work pretty close to you.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands regularly is said to be more effective than wearing face masks. If you want to be extra safe you can also take portable disinfection sprays with you to work or when you go out. Wearing face masks can help protect the people around you if you have already caught a cold, but there is no need to wear one for your own protection. Nevertheless, a lot of Japanese people do so.
Vitamin C intake
While vitamin C cannot prevent you from catching a cold, it can help to shorten the duration. Unfortunately, most fruits that contain vitamin C are pretty expensive in Japan. If you are worried about your vitamin C intake, drinks that contain extra vitamin C and other supplements are available.
Clean your air-conditioning
A dirty air conditioner can be a good place for bacteria to breed. You can find air conditioner cleaners in your local supermarket or home center for less than 2,000 yen. Once every few years, it might also be a good idea to have your air conditioner cleaned professionally. Such a service can be found at around 10,000 yen in Japan.
As temperatures can be quite low during the Japanese winter make sure to wear proper clothing. Additionally, warm drinks and taking a hot bath in the evening can keep your body warm and improve your blood circulation so that bacteria will have a harder time infecting your body. Especially ginger is said to have a warming effect. You can get warm drinks with ginger at every convenience store.
These are few tips to avoid catching colds here in Japan. What are your strategies?
Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/