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Medical and Insurance Information

I. Medical Information

<Visiting Hospitals/Clinics in Japan>
Make sure to bring your National Health Insurance Card when consulting with a Doctor.
Also, whenever possible, it is best to call in advance before going to a hospital/clinic.

Medical Questionnaires in English and Japanese
    The questionnaires will help to make your visit to Japanese hospitals/clinics more comfortable. Print, fill out, and take them with you to the hospital.

<List of Host University Hospitals and Clinics>

<List of Hospitals and Clinics, including Mental Health Options (UCTSC collated pdfs)>
  • Osaka University Students: Hospitals and Clinics List (PDF)
  • For Year, Spring, Fall Students (PDF)

<List of English Speaking Hospitals/Clinics where UCTSC has Previously Referred Students>
*Please note that their English ability may vary and staff at the hospital/clinic most likely won't speak English.

<For Urgent Care- List of Hospitals/Clinics with ERs>

<Seasonal Health Tips>

Pollen Allergy/Hay Fever (Kafun-sho)

Statistically, the prevalence of pollen allergy is considered to be over 20% (one out of five people!) of the total population in Japan. Of those, 70% are specifically allergic to Japanese Cyptomeria, and the secondmost common allergen is Cypress. However, aside from the aforementioned pollens, it is reported that there are more than 50 kinds of pollens that can cause allergies.
Pollen allergy is also known as a seasonal allergic rhinitis or conjunctivitis which causes a number of allergic symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, nose congestion, itchy or watery eyes.
There are many possible reasons why so many people are becoming allergic to pollen, but one of the causes is the widespread planting of Japanese Cyptomeria, post-WWII. This happened during the 1950s and was aimed at reforestation of the devastated mountains but it now has resulted in the matured trees producing large amounts of pollen every spring.
For prevention, masks and special allergy protection glasses are easy to use, but if these measures do not bring much relief, it might be best to visit a hospital and get anti-allergy medications.

Mosquito Bites
Many students suffer from mosquito bites in Summer. Nearly all mosquito prevention or treatment products are described as Mushi yoke: avoid insects or Mushi sasare: insect bites, although mosquitos are called Ka in Japanese. Plesae note that "Mushi yoke" and "Mushi sasare" are basically talking about mosquitoes and not insects in general.
For prevention, probably the easiest and most effective item would be spray-on repellant. The second reccomendation is a room spray type.
If you get bitten, do not keep scratching- you need treatment. Muhi and Kinkan are the major brands in Japan and since they are so popular, these brand names work as their own product names, too. Muhi and Kinkan come in the forms of ointment, liquid, and patches.
Check out the pictures below of some products that are useful in the prevention and/or treatment of mosquito bites.
For your reference, here is a well-written English webpage which explains more about these products in detail.

Heat Stroke (Necchusho)
Heat stroke is when the body can no longer moderate body temperature due to dehydration and sodium loss in high temperature indoor/outdoor settings. Summer in Japan is very humid and hot, which unfortunately are the perfect conditions for heat stroke to occur. Overall in Japan, 40,000 to 50,000 people are taken to hospital every summer because of heat stroke and severe cases can lead to death. In order to prevent this heat stroke, you need to drink plenty of fluids, increase your sodium intake, and cool your body if you feel any kind of dizziness, headaches, nausea, or excessive sweating.

Gargling is a very effective preventative measure against catching a cold. One study examined the effects of water gargling in healthy adults and it showed that the group who continued the practise of 15-second gargling 3 times/day enjoyed a significantly lower risk of getting a cold compared to the group who didn't. But once you get infected, povidone-iodine gargling is effective to reduce the risk of infections including influenza. The major povidone-iodine solution sold in Japan is called Isojin . A little cup is included in the packet, so use it to make a 15-30 fold dilution. Pour in 2-4 ml of Isojin and add water to make it 50-60 ml.

People in Japan wear masks throughout the year, but the most prevalent season is obviously winter. Masks are worn not only to prevent further infection but are also considered as a certain kind of etiquette to others around you if you are coughing or sneezing. For the same reason, masks are also widely used in spring by those people who suffer from pollen allergy symptoms (refer to the spring section for details).

Hokkairo/Kairo is an item used exclusively in Japan. If you need something to warm yourself in winter, Hokkairo will be one of the best of all! There are two types of Hokkairo- adhesive and nonadhesive. Hokkairo starts to warm itself once it is taken out of its packaging. The substance contained in Hokkairo will oxidize resulting heat up to an average of 40 Degrees Celcius (104 Degress Fahrenheit) and they last up to 20 hours (in case of Regular-sized Hokkairo). If you use the adhesive type Haru Kairo, you can stick it to the clothes you wear. It's important to place it on the outside of your clothes and avoid direct contact with bare skin. If it's a nonadhesive type, you may either just put it in your pocket or hold it as is. Either way, please avoid doing anything that will burn you. For your information, there is even Hokkairo for your socks. Some products are shown below.

Cough Drops (Nodoame)
It's very important to have at least health literacy. Aside from being able to read, you need to know the meanings of the words and the features of the products sold. When you need Cough Drops, look for Nodoame candies in the sweets/snack section of any supermarket. If you are looking for Vicks you can usually find them at the drugstore, not the supermarket.

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II. Insurance Information
    Note: You will need to submit the receipt/s you got at the clinic/pharmacy.