Cold and Flu Prevention for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Cold and Flu season can make you pretty nervous when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. When I used to come down with a cold, I would get seriously ill with bronchitis and sinus infections. A normal 5-7 day cold would take me 3-4 weeks to recover from.
And the flu was even worse. One year after traveling to South Korea, I came down with a cold and the flu twice in 4 months. It was a very miserable spring. I was sick more than I was well. And I had pretty serious bronchitis for months.
Fortunately, these days I know how to avoid getting sick. And now I rarely come down with a cold or the flu.
We all want to avoid catching colds and flus. But when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, it is even more important to protect yourself.
The most important step is prevention!
In this post I’m going to cover my Top 10 General Cold and Flu Prevention Tips to avoid getting sick – many you probably haven’t thought of!
I’m going to continue this Cold and Flu Prevention series with these upcoming posts, so stay tuned!
- Tips to avoid getting sick when traveling for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
- Foods that support the immune system in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
- Supplements that support the immune system in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
- Remedies for cold and flu in in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Be sure to follow these cold and flu prevention tips for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Stay healthy this season!
General Cold and Flu Prevention Tips to avoid colds and the flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
The cold and flu are both airborne illness. We get them when we come into contact with germs from others who are sick.
One big issue is that people are contagious for a day or two before developing symptoms. So you really can’t tell who is contagious!
Cold and flu germs are spread when people cough, sneeze, and blow their noses. So you want to avoid coming into contact with these germs. And these germs are everywhere in public places. So the trick is to avoid touching things that carry germs.
Flu and cold germs can be active for 24 hours outside the body. They survive longer on hard surfaces – like the type of things you might touch when in public. And MRSA, a very serious bacterial infection, can survive for weeks on these types of surfaces.
I start following these tips as soon as fall begins. I stick with them carefully all through winter and spring. So really, I only loosen up on them in the summer.
They may seem overboard for people who don’t have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. But if you are dealing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, I assure you this is worth doing.
So here are the general tips. These are oriented toward being in public. But if someone in your home is sick, you should follow these tips in your home too.
Keep your Body warm and Humidity in your house around 50% during cold and flu season when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Studies have shown cold and flu viruses thrive in low humidity and low temperatures. This is a major reason why we catch cold and flus in the winter. We get cold and the air stays dry.
So stay warm as much as possible by bundling up and dressing in layers. In the winter, also consider using a humidifier.
But beware! Most humidifiers grow mold. This could make your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance worse. Especially the humidifiers built in to furnaces. Most people don’t change the filters or clean them. They build mold really quickly.
I’ve done extensive research on humidifiers. This is the only humidifier I can recommend at this time. It doesn’t have a filter – these harbor bacteria and mold. It can also be thoroughly cleaned to avoid mold build-up. Make sure to clean it thoroughly with soap and water every 2-3 days:
Keep humidity between 45-50% in the winter. Don’t go over 50% so you don’t get mold growth in the house. In the warmer, more humid months drop your home humidity to around 40%.
Avoid touching things in public to keep from getting the Cold or Flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Avoid using public pens
People often don’t have a chance to wash their hands before touching pens. And pens used by the general public are major carriers of cold and flu germs.
Use your own pen when signing anything – at restaurants, at stores, the bank, etc. Just carry your own pen and always use it. When someone offers you a pen, just politely say “I’ve got a pen, thank you. I’m trying to avoid catching a cold.” People usually respond by commenting on how smart that is.
Avoid touching public door handles
Door handles are another common place to pick up cold and flu germs. Again, anytime people cough, sneeze, or blow their noses, they will transfer cold and flu germs onto anything they touch.
Instead, use the tail of your shirt, your sleeve, or the edge of a scarf to open doors. Then make sure you don’t touch anything that will go into your mouth with these clothes. Just toss these clothes into the laundry when you get home.
Avoid touching stall locks, flushing handles, faucets, and paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms
Unfortunately, many people don’t wash their hands thoroughly in public bathrooms. So the stall handles and locks, sink faucets, and paper towel dispensers are loaded with cold and flu germs.
If you can, grab a paper towel or some toilet paper when you go into a public bathroom. Use it or your shirt tail touch hardware on the bathroom stall. Use toilet paper to flush the toilet. Also, use a paper towel to the faucets on and off. Finally, avoid using automatic hand dryers if possible. Studies have shown these blow cold and flu germs around causing you to breath them in.
Avoid touching gas pumps at the gas station
Gas pumps are another place where it is easy to pick up cold and flu germs. Again, contagious people often sneeze, cough, and blow their noses before touching the pump.
Here is a trick I learned. Keep a set of white cotton gloves or stretchy knit gloves in your car. You can get several pairs for around $10 to $15. Put them on before touching the pump or the keypad. When you are done, turn the gloves inside out. Then toss in the washer when you get home. Just remember – 1 use of the gloves and then wash them.
Avoid touching credit card keypads and stylus at stores
The credit card keypad and the stylus you use to digitally sign for purchases – these are both another place cold and flu germs can hide.
I keep stretchy knit gloves in all my jackets. Then, I put the gloves before I pay for my purchase like I’m getting ready to go back out. Wear the gloves to open the door when you walk out. Then turn these gloves inside out and wash when you get home.
Avoid touching things at the grocery store
Grocery carts carry a ton of hidden cold and flu germs. People sneeze and cough into their hands as they are shopping. And the carts aren’t sanitized between shoppers.
Do use the disinfectant wipes to wipe down the basket. Don’t just wipe the handle at the front. Wipe down everywhere you will touch the basket. I both wipe down the cart and wear my stretchy knit gloves while shopping.
Wash your hands well to avoid colds and the flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
You probably already think to wash your hands after going to the restroom. But this isn’t enough if you want to avoid getting sick. You want to wash your hands every time you come into your home from being out in public. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Also, be sure to wash your hands before you prepare food and eat. This way any germs that you have transferred into your house get washed off. If someone in your home is sick with the cold or flu, make sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with surfaces that person has touched.
Wash your produce well to avoid colds and the flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
When you are shopping for produce, like apples, do you pick up several apples to find the best ones? So does everyone else. And they transfer cold and flu germs onto the produce. These germs can last up to 24 hours on your produce. MRSA bacteria can last longer.
Be sure before to wash produce well that may have been touched by others. Think about washing all fruits and veggies. You can wash and rinse under warm water. And use something like Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap.
Don’t eat sugar or simple carbs to avoid colds and the flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Sugar and simple carbs depress the immune system. This includes things like baked goods, potatoes, and white rice. The trick is to keep your blood sugar stable. Also, don’t “starve a cold”. The immune system needs nutrients to work well when fighting off infections.
Instead, eat nourish soups and plenty of vegetables. Be sure to get enough protein, too. Amino acids are also important for the immune system. Don’t make bone broth, because it is high histamine. But you can make meat broths using meat, vegetables, and seasonings. Just boil it for about 20 minutes. And be sure to freeze the leftovers.
Get plenty of sleep to avoid colds and the flu when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
A good night’s sleep is critical for healthy immune functioning. Every time I’ve gotten sick it happened after I didn’t sleep enough. Maybe I was waking up early to get more work done. Or maybe I had something high histamine and didn’t sleep well.
Make sure you prioritize your sleep and get 8-9 hours if possible during cold and flu season. If you are having insomnia, don’t let it go on for too long. Be sure to check out this post for help: 9 Insomnia Relief Supplements for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and Histamine Intolerance
Sanitize if someone in your home has a cold for the flu to avoid getting sick when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
If someone in your home is sick, chances are they are spreading germs throughout your house. But you can take some easy precautions to help prevent catching their illness. Ask them to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading germs through the air. And ask them to wash their hands often.
Further, sanitize surfaces that are touched frequently. I use Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray in my home. It kills 99.99% of germs. But it is non-toxic, unlike Lysol and other disinfectant sprays. It is a much safer choice if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
Bottom line on Cold and Flu Prevention for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
I hope these tips give you good ideas on how to avoid getting sick. Here are the top tips to remember:
- Bundle up and keep your body from getting too cold.
- Keep humidity at 50% in house with a fully washable humidifier: Completely Washable Modular Sanitary Humidifier. Beware of mold and bacteria build up in other humidifiers.
- Avoid touching things in public by wearing white cotton gloves or stretchy knit gloves.
- Wash hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Wash and rinse produce well with Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap.
- Avoid sugar and simple carbs.
- Get plenty of sleep – 8 to 9 hours a night.
- Sanitize surfaces with Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray if someone in your home is sick.
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Reference on Cold and Flu Prevention for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Lowen, A. C., Mubareka, S., Steel, J., & Palese, P. (2007). Influenza virus transmission is dependent on relative humidity and temperature. PLoS pathogens, 3(10), 1470–1476. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0030151
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