• 2022.10.13
  • Do People Get Hay Fever in Australia Too?
The seasons in Australia are exactly the opposite to Japan’s, and the Gold Coast, with its warm weather, mostly has a short spring and goes right away into summer during that period from winter’s end through spring and early summer. But winter was colder than normal this year, and it feels like we’ve had a lot of cool days even in early summer. Spring in Japan means the beautiful season of cherry blossoms, but for people who get hay fever, it’s probably a gloomy season. I used to get quite severe hay fever when I lived in Japan. My hay fever symptoms were worse when I was in the city center than in the suburbs or close to nature. I remember once going back to Japan a while back right in the middle of the hay fever season, I went to Shibuya and the sneezing didn’t stop, 10 times in a row, my nose and throat felt itchy, and my eyes started watering, so I rushed to a drugstore. When I started living in Australia, I was happy to be rid of that horrible hay fever, but I noticed that my nose gets ever so slightly itchy, I sneeze, and my nose runs when the seasons change, in spring, fall, and so on every year. So, Australia too has the sort of hay fever I got in Japan. Australians call “hay fever” what Japanese call “kafunsho.”
“Hay” is the dried grass you find on farms, and “fever” is “netsu” in Japanese. The allergic reactions in hay fever are sneezing, runny nose, and blocked nose, as well as slight fever with a hazy feeling in your head, so that’s why they use the name “fever.” It’s an allergy that occurs as a reaction to various kinds of plant pollen that becomes airborne in spring, rather than an allergy to hay, so it really is “kafunsho” (“pollen illness”). Commercials for hay fever drugs appear even on TV every spring.
I haven’t had the test to see which plants’ pollen I am allergic to, but once when I went to the plant section at a home improvement store, I couldn’t stop sneezing and my throat got itchy, so I think I must have been reacting to some sort of plant there because there wasn’t any hay. A friend who never gets hay fever in Japan told me that when they went hiking in the mountains of Melbourne, they seemed to react to some type of plant, they could barely talk for the stream of sneezes, and their eyes were watering, so they discovered just how tough it is for people who get hay fever.
Australia is surrounded by lush greenery in the great outdoors where lots of various kinds of plants grow, so pollen is always in the air, but even people are surrounded by more flowers and trees than in Japan, for some reason the hay fever symptoms are unexpectedly milder than in Japan. All the same, the symptoms seem to be gradually getting worse every year nowadays, compared to when I first arrived in Australia about 20 years ago.
Personally, I think the hay fever might be a reaction to pollen mixed with air pollution. I think surely there wasn’t hay fever in the old days, when air pollution wasn’t bad and when there wasn’t so much concrete everywhere. There were much more lawns 20 years ago on the Gold Coast, where I live, and there were fewer buildings and cars, but bit by bit properties have been developed and there have been increases in the population, cars, and buildings, so I think maybe that has meant the pollen is reacting to the air pollution...
And this year my own hay fever has been worse than last year. I can usually get by without taking drugs, but this year there have been days when I have had to take drugs.
Of course, it might have been my physical condition...
I just hope my hay fever symptoms don’t get any worse.

Even on the Gold Coast a short drive brings you to pasture here and there where cattle and horses are raised.


  • Chieko Suganuma (maiden name : Nagura)
  • JobCompany employee

She moved to Australia in 2000. She worked for a Japanese-affiliated travel agency, and then started her current position at a construction company in 2014.On her days off, she enjoys making soy candles that is a hobby of mine and walking on the beach.She hope to share rare lifestyle information from the local area with you.

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