I got sick in Japan! And now? - Cold and Flu

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The 2 main illnesses in Japan are the cold and the flu. The flu means you can take the day off work. But if you catch a cold, you're expected to do everything a normal person does wearing a mask. In this article, we will understand a little about colds, flu and allergies in Japan. In case you are sick let's see how to deal with them.

Anything other than a bad cold that puts you in bed is called a kaze (風邪) which translates to a cold. When the flu is bad enough they use the katakana word Infuruenza (インフルエンザ) which can be literally translated as influenza and flu. There are other diseases that can be confused with colds and flu like the famous pollen allergy called kafunsho.

Catching a cold in Japan is easy, due to the radically changing temperatures. The Japanese also venture into this change in temperature when entering hot spring and when using air conditioning indoors and going out in the heat of the street. Even when getting on and off a train or station you are subject to this change in temperature that can leave you with a cold.

Sick cold flu in Japan

I'm sick - Doctor and buying medicine

Most jobs and school require the person to present a certificate to prove their flu or illness. Be prepared to make an appointment and pay a fee of 5000 yen. This to get a maximum of 3 days off. Sometimes you need to take days off from your vacation to rest if you didn’t get a doctor’s note.

When you arrive at the doctor's appointment, the Doctor will do some experiments like sticking a cotton swab in your nose. After rubbing the cotton swab in your nose and placing it in a solution for 5 minutes, it will determine the type of flu you have caught and recommend the remedies.

Doctors love to give weird names to seasonal flu that make you think you have a serious illness, they even talk about which country this flu came from. Medicines used to fight the flu and cold in Japan often come in powder form in small packets where you must swallow and drink water.

If you haven't been to the doctor and need some cold or flu medicine, you can find these powdered medicine at most pharmacies. Just arrive on site and ask for Wind medicine (風邪の薬). And if your throat is sore you can ask for nodo no kusuri -> throat medicine (喉の薬).

They can also sell medicine in pills, it is worth remembering that many pills in Japan are weak and the recommendation is to take more than 1 at the same time. They are made this way to avoid cutting pills in half or taking too many with the intention of suicide. When I was sick in Japan, a friend gave me a medicine called paburon (パブロン).

Sick cold flu in Japan

I have the flu and a cold in Japan, now what?

When it is certain that you are sick, the steps are to take the medicine until you get better. People will consider you to have the flu if you have a very high fever and are vomiting. For some reason vomiting = flu.  

If you're not nearly dying of a fever in bed, then you have a cold. This means that you can continue your life as normal wearing a mask.

The Japanese wear masks to avoid catching or passing on illness and also due to allergies. In case you have a cold, you should wear masks that are found at any convenience store.

Others wear the mask even to gain sympathy at work and receive lighter services. Remember not to reuse disposable masks, and always change them when they are wet. Avoid touching the mask and remember that when changing it wash your hands with soap and alcohol.

Sick cold flu in Japan

Another thing you can do to treat this cold is to soak in a hot tub or even an onsen. Hot water keeps the body warm and relaxes it. It is recommended to stay at home if you are not feeling well, always follow the doctors information.

Finally, let's leave a list of words that can help you:

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
the flu風邪kaze
headache頭痛atamaga itai
sore throat喉が痛いnodoga itai
muscle pain筋肉痛kinnikutsuu
stomach painおなかがいたいonakagaitai
joint pain関節痛kansetsutsuu
mucus or phlegmたんtan
nasal congestion鼻ずまりhana zumari
burning in the eyes目の痛みme no itami

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