By Aileen Kawagoe
From around March, cedar tree pollen starts to be released into the air in Japan affecting thousands and thousands of pollen allergy sufferers nationwide. Housewives in Japan who suffer the condition are avoiding their PTA meetings and are trying to go out unnecessarily to avoid exascerbating their allergy conditions. Kids with pollen allergy symptoms are cramming the clinics at this time of the year.
Nasal irrigation works better than nasal sprays, according to many recent studies, to ease sinus and allergy symptoms, stuffy nose and other nasal problems. Those studies say nasal irrigation will clear nasal passages without dryness or “rebound” congestion, which occurs when overuse of decongestants leads to dependence and irritated tissue.
In one independent study in 2008, researchers examined a group of children with severe allergies. They found that regular nasal irrigation with a mild saline solution significantly eased symptoms and helped reduce the need for steroid nasal sprays. A 2007 study at the University of Michigan looked at 121 adults with chronic nasal and sinus problems. Over two months, the scientists found that those treated with nasal irrigation reported greater improvements than those treated with a spray. Other trials reported that the use of saline irrigation had good results as opposed to the control group that didn’t.
In Japan, your average doctor is likely to prescribe a nasal spray such as NAZAL.
But the article “The Claim: Nasal Irrigation can ease allergy symptoms” (Apr 13, 2009 The New York Times) suggests that you will get superior results with a neti pot, or even a saline spray as opposed to a steroid spray. Kids tend to baulk at using the neti pot which feels more invasive and troublesome to use.