Can You Safely Travel? Top Travel Tips for when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Travel can often set off flare ups if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
Have you started to turn the corner on your health…But then you go out of town for a trip and come back worse?
This has happened to me many times. Just the stress of packing and getting on the road can set off symptoms. Then there is eating in restaurants. Staying in hotels. Flying or car rides.
How Can Travel Flare up Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance?
There are many ways travel can flare up Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Vibration is a trigger to mast cells – this happens with both flying and driving. Also, low oxygen on flights is another trigger.
When traveling, it is harder to be fully in control of your foods. So, you may be eating higher histamine, higher oxalate, and higher lectin foods. These can all trigger Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
Hotels are often full of mold. This is because the hotels shampoo the carpets frequently. And then the carpets don’t dry fully. Chemicals used in hotels can also be a trigger.
I’ve done a lot of travel around the world. Sometimes those trips went well. And sometimes I got much worse.
A few years ago, I had a really big flare. I had been doing great with my health. Then I flew to Seoul, South Korea. I had a wonderful time. But I was being hosted and wasn’t in full control of my food. I had a lot of high histamine foods: beef, soy sauce, kimchi, and spinach.
My health had been really good. So, I thought I’d be ok. Food is a very important part of Korean culture. And I wanted to be a good guest without upsetting my hosts.
It didn’t work out well for me, though. There were very long flights, 18-hour days, and so many high histamine foods. Then I caught a serious flu infection on the way home. It took me 6 months to start to recover. I didn’t travel for over year after this. And it really took a couple years to restore my health to where it was before the trip.
This is a more extreme example of how traveling can make Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance worse. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.
I now travel frequently. But I’ve learned a lot about how to take care of my body so I don’t get flared up like that again. My clients often ask me about how to get through a trip without getting worse. These are my top travel tips I share with my clients that should help make your travels easier on your body too.
General Travel Tips when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Stress is a major root cause in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. So, keep your stress to a minimum with travel.
- Start Packing Several Days in Advance.
Stress is a big trigger for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Help reduce this stress by starting your packing the weekend before you leave. This will give you plenty of time to think about what you need to bring.
- Make a Master Packing List
When you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, it takes a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. I used to grab a backpack and fly across the world. Today, I need to bring several items to keep my body health. A master packing list will help you worry less that you’ve forgotten something.
- Don’t Over Plan
Give yourself room to relax on your trip. Just plan 1 adventure or outing a day. Then take time to read, play a game, or watch a movie. If you plan your trip this way, you’ll also have space to take care of yourself if you have a reaction to anything.
- Take Care of Yourself First
I’ve heard many stories from clients about making poor health decisions on trips. This is because they didn’t want to burden anyone. They also didn’t want to ask for anything special. But the truth is, since you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you do need to ask for what you need.
This may be asking for the kind of food you need. Or asking to change hotel rooms if your room has a musty odor. Or paying the extra fee to check a bag when flying so you can take everything you need with you.
- Stay Hydrated
Water is a natural antihistamine. Be sure to drink plenty of water on the flight or car trip. Caffeinated drinks don’t count. This is because they are dehydrating.
Drink plenty of water before you start your travel. For each 2-3 hours flight or drive time, drink 1-2 liters of water. Also, drink plenty of water after you arrive.
- Drink H2 Water
Hydrogen water keeps you more hydrated. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory support. I use 4-6 tablets throughout my travel day. If you are trying this for the first time, just try one tablet. Just dissolve the tablet in 8 oz of water. Then drink after it stops bubbling.
H2 water is very safe and used for anti-aging. The only contraindication is SIBO. Don’t use if you have active SIBO.
I use these H2 Elite Hydrogen capsules
- Take Your Own Pillow (And Sheets if Needed)
Traveling with your own pillow can help you sleep better. And help a lot if you react to laundry detergent or bleach. If you are very sensitive to smells, you may want to just take your own sheets.
- Preload Mast Cell and Histamine Supports and Increase During Your Trip
Put together your own Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance supplement kit.
Increase the supplements you can do so safely, increasing 2-3 days before travel and throughout your trip.
These are in my own “Travel Kit.” Be sure to talk with your Health Care Provider first about whether these are right for you.
Pure Encapsulations Quercetin
Integrative Therapeutics Alpha-Glycosyl Isoquercitrin
Designs for Health Olive Leaf Extract
Chinese Skullcap extract Baicalin
(Use Coupon Code: Mastcell10 for 10% off)
Unscented Epsom Salts for Baths
Take a bath chlorine filter with you.
Travel Tips for Flying when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Flying can be a major Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. The oxygen levels go lower on flights. Low oxygen is one of the 7 Most Common Root Causes in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
Also, flights aren’t sanitized between passengers. This means there are a lot of germs that can make you sick. Viruses are another major Root Cause in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
Another problem is you can’t avoid fragrances on planes. So many people wear perfume or cologne or strongly scented deodorant. These fragrances are immune disruptors. And they are toxic. Another major trigger in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
Here are my best tips for flying with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance to keep from getting flared up or getting sick.
- Avoid Germs By Wearing Cotton Gloves
I take several pairs of this type of white cotton gloves* on the plane. I change them after each event where I’m touching surfaces of the plane. I change them after:
- I’m getting on the plane.
- I’m disinfecting my area.
- Going to the restroom.
- Exiting the plane.
I put the used gloves in a Ziplock bag to carry home with me. Then they go in the washing machine to be sanitized. (I wear these at the grocery and gas pump too.)
- Disinfect Your Seat Area
Take Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes* or make your own with Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner* and paper towels. While wearing your gloves, wipe down the:
- Headrest, back rest, and seat
- Arm rests
- Air Nozzle and Attendant Call Button
- Tray Table and parts of the Seat Pocket you might touch
- Window shade (if sitting by the window)
Take a plastic bag with you to put the used wipes in and throw away.
- Keep Air Flowing
Stagnant air increases the risk you will get sick. Turn your air flow on high. I do this with my sanitizing wipe. Keep it on high throughout the flight. If you get cold easily, bring a hat and jacket.
- Stop Fragrance Reactions
Take a VogMask* with built in pollution filter with you. If you smell fragrance, just slip the mask on. This has been a game changer for many people. Also, this is great for wearing in taxis or to shopping areas.
Hotel Travel Tips when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Hotels can be full of mold. They also aren’t sanitized between guests. You never know if the previous guest was sick. Here are ways to take care of yourself in the hotel when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
- Avoid Mold As Much As Possible in Hotel Rooms
Ask the hotel if they have any newly renovated rooms if you are chemical sensitive. Also, ask how recently they shampooed the carpets.
- Let the Hotel Know You Are Allergic to Cleaning Products
Ask for your room to be serviced without cleaning products. This reduces your inhalation exposure to chemicals.
- Disinfect Your Room
Your room is likely full of germs. Disinfect your room when you first arrive. You can either pack Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner* or purchase it at Whole Foods when you arrive. Then spray down every surface. Include the tub, toilet, and sinks. Spray anything you might touch:
- Door knobs
- Light switches
- Dresser pulls and inside dresser
- Refrigerator inside and outside where you might touch
- Consider Staying at a Hotel with a Full Kitchen
If you have a kitchen, you can prepare or bring your own food. This can make a big difference in reactions. Marriott Residence Inns and Hilton Homewood Suites both have full kitchens.
- Take a BioBalance Travel Mister for Mold
Mold is a big trigger for you if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. BioBalance has now come out with a great Non-Toxic Mold Travel Mister for using when traveling to hotels. This is what I travel with now. It works really well.
Many people see vacation as a time to “cheat” on their normal diet. But when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you may not be able to afford to do this.
When you are traveling, this is a time to tighten up on your foods as much as you can. Here are some ideas for you.
- Take Your Safe Foods List
Be sure to take the Mast Cell 360 Low Histamine Diet Foods List with you. This way, if you aren’t sure what to eat, you can get ideas from the list.
- Be Very Polite At Restaurants
The kinder and more polite you are, the more likely you will get what you ask for. I always tell the server: “I have food allergies and will be a little complicated, but I promise I’ll be very pleasant and easy to deal with.” This usually gets a laugh and they are always very accommodating. I’ve been eating in restaurants for years with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. I’ve only ever had 1 server be upset with me. And it was clear she was having a bad night already.
- Ask For Exactly What You Want In Restaurants
Write down on a piece of paper what you can have. Servers really appreciate it when you make their lives easier. Most restaurants will let you modify any dish on the menu. I’ve even had restaurants make up a new dish for me from the ingredients they have available. I just write down what I can have from the menu on one side of the paper and what I can’t have on the other. Like this:
I can eat:
I am allergic to:
- Take Your Own Food Or Cook Your Own Food If Possible
The trips where I’ve had the least issues are the ones where I made all my own food. I freeze meals ahead of time. You can take frozen solid meals through security at an airport. Just put in a cooler bag. You can also pack this in a cooler for a car trip.
Then I get a hotel with a kitchen. And I make a stop at a Health Food Grocery soon after I arrive. That way, I am sure I have plenty of safe foods to eat.
Traveling can be challenging with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. So, it helps a lot to reduce triggers wherever possible.
- Use Diamine Oxidase (DAO)
If you tolerate Diamine Oxidase, , you can take extra when you travel. I often take 4-6 capsules 10 minutes before a meal when traveling and eating out.
DAO is available here at Fullscript– if you set up an account with the below link, you will get 15% off anything in the store anytime you order.
Travel Tips for Staying with Family when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
It can be hard when staying with family to ask for what you need. But it is critical to stay healthy. I usually stay in a hotel, so I don’t have to inconvenience my family.
This is because all my family members use scented candles, scented plugins, and laundry detergents with fragrance. Fragranced products are a big trigger for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance, though. And I get really sick if I sleep with scented sheets. Or if I have to breathe in scented candles or plugins for very long.
You may not get a choice, though. Here are some things you can do if you are staying with family.
- Let Your Family Know You Have a Medical Condition
You don’t have to go into specifics. Just say you have an immune disorder that means you have a lot of serious allergies. You don’t need them to understand what it is to receive what you need. You just need to state that you have specific needs to be able to stay healthy.
- Be Kind, Be Clear, Be Grateful
Sometimes, family can be pushy and may try to push you into something you know is bad for your health. You can deal with this by saying kindly and clearly: “I’ve been dealing with this for a long time. And I know you don’t want me to get sicker while I’m visiting. Thank you for trying to help me. And I don’t want to make this hard on you. I’ll be glad to take care of my own needs while I’m here. And I really appreciate staying here.”
- Ask For No Scented Products in Your Room
Let your family know you are allergic to scented candles, plugins, and laundry detergent. Asked them to not have these in your room.
- Find Out the Bed Size and Bring Your Own Sheets
If you are sensitive to scented laundry detergent, you may need to bring your own sheets. Just let them know you have an allergy to detergents. And for them not to worry, because you don’t mind bringing your own sheets.
- Let Your Family Know You’ll Need to Bring Your Own Food Or Pick The Restaurant
Let your family know you also have food allergies. But that you don’t expect them to cook for you. Bring your own food if possible. Or research ahead of time and find restaurants that have food you can tolerate.
Enjoying your Travel when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
These are a lot of tips we’ve gone through. But good planning can make all the difference for whether you feel good on your trip. Here are the major take-aways:
- Make sure to take very good care of yourself before, during, and after your trip.
- Be clear, kind, and firm in asking for what you need.
- Take higher doses of appropriate supplements before, during, and a couple days after your trip (after discussing with your health care provider).
- Keep stress levels low.
- Life is short! Be sure to enjoy the journey and the experiences.
Safe and Happy travels to you!
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