Jul 8, 2013

Some advice to prevent heatstroke in Japan

Hi everyone!

I don't know if I can call it a good news or bad news. Well, 梅雨 (pronounced "tsuyu"), or the rainy season for this year ended in most part of Japan. It was an unexpectedly early end. Normally tsuyu continues till around July 20. 

Having rain everyday is annoying, but the end of the rainy season means that hot, sweaty uncomfortable summer has come!!! I hate summer of this country!

Yesterday the temperature topped 35℃ in more than 50 locations around the country, and in Koshu City in Yamanashi Prefecture it rose as high as 38.6℃, higher than body temperature!!

Every summer we hear sad news of the people who die from heatstroke during their sleep, as well as outdoor activities, such as sports and gardening.

When I was a child, summer was not that bad. We had several steamy hot days, but we could somehow manage without air-conditioners. At least it was cool in the evening and early morning and nice breeze came in from the open windows.

These years, however, it is almost impossible to sleep without running your air-conditioner all night long. When the outdoor temperature does not drop below 25℃ at night, many people find it difficult to sleep well. We call such an evening a "tropical night" here. It might sound a little romantic but it really is just a muggy uncomfortable evening, and the problem is, we have this tropical nights much frequently than before. 

Many people believe using an air-conditioner during sleep is not good for their health; however, not using it can risk their lives. Japanese summer is not only hot but also humid, and when the humidity is too high, perspiration does not evaporate and the heat is not taken from the body. When your body cannot keep itself cool, your temperature rises and you become ill. That's how heatstroke occurs. 

If you plan to visit Japan this summer, you really have to be careful of heatstroke. Yesterday (July 7) only, 1,183 people showing the symptoms of heatstroke were taken to hospital across Japan, of which four were in very serious condition.

Here's some advice to prevent heatstroke.

1: Don't move around during the day too energetically.

2: Drink a lot of water. Take some salt too, because when you sweat, sodium (salt) is lost with moisture. Eating a 塩飴(shio-ame), candies containing salt, has been popular since some time ago as one of the ways to prevent heatstroke.  You can find a great variety of shio-ame with different flavors especially in summer.

 "Mineral Salt Milky" 
new version of the long-selling milk candy Milky

 "Sekai no Kitchen kara" (from the kitchens of all over the world) 
This is not a movie title but the name of salt candy. 

3. Don't think of sleeping in a tent in cities. In big cities where almost all the road surface is paved with asphalt and green space is scarce, the roads and buildings heated by the sun during the day often emit the heat in the evening; therefore, the temperature often remains high.

4. When you feel ill, take refuge in a cool place. In Japan convenience store is everywhere and always air-conditioned. If your friend falls unconscious, ask someone to call an ambulance, saying "Kyukyusha o yonde kudasai" (=Please call an ambulance).


  1. Yukoさん こんにちは!

    Ah, so now I know why there are salt candies in Japan. I saw some at my local chinese shop yesterday, actually...

    I kinda know what summer you are talking about.. hot, humid & muggy. I love visiting Malaysia but it's true that you can't escape the heat & humidity. >.< We always sleep with the air-con & fan on... and one has to be careful not to burn oneself with the metal seatbelt buckle when getting back into a hot car!

    It seems that the effects of climate change are real and happening... :O
    Over here, it was as cold as winter during the last month of 秋 (which was May). Stay safe from heatstroke this summer season Yukoさん!Temperatures close to 40*C can be really unbearable! >.<

    1. Hi サマンサさん!

      Thank you for your nice message, and I'm sorry it took me so long to reply.

      It is still very hot here, but recent problem is very super heavy rain that hit in many parts of Japan, causing tremendous damages such as floods, landslides and death of people.

      But the heavy rainfalls are very regional, and we have water shortage problems at the same time in some parts of the country, including Tokyo.

      The climate changes in the recent these years are crazy.

      Anyway, I envy you, サマンサsan. If possible I'd like to fly to Australia to enjoy nice cool autumn!

    2. こんにちは!気にしないで下さい。^0^/

      Yes, you should one day! :D It's now the last month of 冬 so the breeze is quite cool and the skies are very blue. ;)