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Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 08:40
Hey Guys!

So, I'm from the UK and I am currently doing a TEFL course. When I pass it, I want to teach in Japan for a year with the JET programme.
It has always been my dream to live there for a little while. Like a year or less.
However, I don't think this dream is possible because of my health. I don't have a strong immune system so I'm pretty sure the JET programme will reject me if I fail their health assessment.
(I am up to date with all my vaccinations.)


I suffer from chronic eczema which means I need my medicine 24/7 to keep it under control so it wont flare up.
I have to use Oilatum or sanex and Aqueous cream, for my baths as I can't wash with fragranted soaps as this flares up the skin.

I also use Synalar ointment 0.5 and Momentasone ointment (these are strong steroid creams that I use for flare ups, given to me by my doctor.)
Then I just use diprobase or any rich fragrant free cream for moisturising.

I take antihistamines such as Citerazine or Loretadine for my allergies or to help if my skin really itchy. Plus my two inhalers for my Asthma.

I am also allergic to dairy, all nuts, eggs, seasame, and a little of soya. My allergies are not as severe as others, as I am not anaphylaptic thankfully.

I dont know if eczema or asthma is common in Japan or if doctors there would be able to prescribe any of these medicine (inhalers, oilatum, creams etc). Or if I could buy these or similar ones that are safe over the counter?

I know Korean and Japanese like to cook with seasame in a lot of there food but I could just buy raw ingredients and cook my own food. Do food lables have allergen information on them? I will have learnt some Japanese by the time I get there so should be okay reading lables.

But yeah...

The way my body is, I don't know if I will be able to live in Japan or in any foreign country outside of Europe like this...I think the best I will be able to do is visit for a few months.

Any advice?
Thank you xxx
by Elzz9898  

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 10:02
My sister and I had eczema when we lived in Japan. We visited a dermatologist constantly and applied an ointment and sometimes powdered medication (forgot what they were). When we moved to California (very dry air) our eczema disappeared - gone! We think the hot and humid summer in Japan was bad for eczema. So, you can live with it in Japan but with a major inconvenience.

by 12KA (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 18:44
I know someone with bad skin, I think youfll be okay as long as you have a way to treat it. It seems more likely to me that your dietary requirements might cause issues. Ifm sure you are aware that a lot of JET positions are in very rural parts of Japan. Itfs not necessarily something where you can just choose where you end up, you go where they tell you to go. You wonft always find the information youfre looking for on food packaging but I assume a large portion of what you will be buying will be just vegetables, rice, and meat. I suppose it would be easy enough to survive as long as you are near a supermarket but people Ifve know before with dietary restrictions have struggled with things like social engagements, work parties, etc. If youfre happy with that then I think itfs okay.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 19:56
My younger daughter had pretty bad atopic eczema when she was small and this is a fairly common complaint in Japan. She also spent a lot of time going to dermatologists and we tried all sorts of treatments, both medical and 'holistic', although we tried to avoid steroids as much as possible. To be honest, none of the treatments worked especially well and she suffered for a few years.

Eventually, we were told about a natural spring in the mountains near where we lived, where the water was reputed to have 'healing' properties. I was pretty dubious about this but we went off and collected several large containers of water from the source and for the next 3 months, only used that water for her to drink and also for cooking. After those 3 months, there was a HUGE improvement in her eczema. We continued making trips into the mountains to get that water for another year or so and at the end of that time, her eczema was almost entirely gone. She does still tend to dry skin but now as a late teen, really has no problems other than that.

Like I say, I was pretty dubious about all this and I do not suggest that my daughter's experience is scientific proof of anything but I watched her terrible eczema get better and better after regularly drinking and using this water and I was grateful for the relief it seemed to give her.
by wakarahen rate this post as useful

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 21:56
The further north you are based - the less problem you will have with humidity. This means Tohoku and Hokkaido! That also means more snow.

There are a lot of hot springs (onsens) in Japan, which all do different things. Most hot springs do nothing, but some did improve my minor eczema which occurred during periods of high stress (note that the air can be very dry in winter which can also cause problems with skin)

Others will know more than I do
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/27 22:14
Thank you all for your answers, they have been really helpful.

I know the JET programme puts you where-ever, but they do take your medical records into consideration and decide whether you will be able to go or whether to put you in a location best suited to your health needs (e.g in the city where medical help is more accessible than in a rural area).
So the more up north the better? I will look into it thanks!

I'm not too worried about my eczema, as long as I bulk up on my creams to last me or get them imported (if thats legal) I'm good. My main issue is, as one of you mentioned earlier - my allergies.

I'm most likely not gonna be eating out at restaurants as I will be making my own food from raw ingredients with seasonings I'll bring from the UK. Yh my diet is basically just meat, rice, and vegetables here in England, so it will be the same in Japan. Only difference is packaging is not necessarily gonna have all ingredients listed or allergen information on it in Japan, so I will stay clear of them.
But then that's also very restricting....

Thoughts? xxx
by Elzz9898 rate this post as useful

Re: Can you live in japan with eczema? 2018/11/28 08:35
I mean, when I buy vegetables in the UK there is also no allergen information, just the same as Japan. Whether or not that exists on meat and rice I donft know because Ifve never looked. Meat is meat and rice is rice, I think generally speaking youfre safe as far as those things are concerned. With those kinds of items it can be pretty easy to know what youfre buying without allergen information, sometimes without even the ability to read Japanese. Just avoid buying pre-packaged meals, things with sauces, etc.

A lot of people talk about how difficult Japan can be unless youfre able to eat anything and everything but what theyfre really talking about is going to restaurants which a) isnft something you do everyday when you actually move somewhere and b) sounds like something you can probably live without doing anyway. Yes there are meals in every convenience store that look like they would kill anyone with bad allergies, but as long as therefs a good supermarket or even a good greengrocers (many sell other things including meat) there is no reason you canft continue your diet as it is now. There are very few raw ingredients from the UK that Ifve ever had trouble finding in Japan. I really think if youfre sensible then youfll be completely fine.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

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