Travel: Cold and Flu Prevention Tips to avoid getting sick when traveling when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
If you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you want to avoid getting sick as much as you can. This is because when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, getting sick can hit you harder than others.
I’ve been getting a number of questions from people concerned about getting sick. Especially given the issues with MRSA, SARS, and now Coronavirus.
One of the top places to pick up viruses are on planes and in hotels. The airlines aren’t able to sanitize the plane between passengers. And hotels also don’t sanitize their rooms between guests.
I used to always get sick when I traveled. Without a doubt, I would come home with a cold that would last for weeks. Then I implemented the tips below. I have followed them carefully for a few years. A couple years ago, I decided to skip a few steps to save time. Sure enough, I got sick with a head cold, sinus infection, and bronchitis.
I went back to following all the tips below. And then a couple months ago, I flew again. I was short on time and didn’t wipe down my area on the plane with disinfecting wipes. And guess what? I came home with a cold again. Ugh!!
So, I’ve decided by now that these tips do really work. I’m going to share these tips with you to help you avoid getting sick too when you travel.
How to Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu on a Plane When you Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
There are a few major tricks here.
One is to avoid touching surfaces with cold/flu germs. And then touching your face, mouth, or eyes. Which is practically impossible. So instead, I take multiple changes of gloves on the plane.
Another trick is to reduce your germ exposure. For this, I wipe down the area with non-toxic disinfectant wipes. Be sure to avoid Clorox and Lysol type wipes – these are fairly toxic. They also are very mast cell and histamine un-friendly.
Plane Tips for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Here is a run down of what I do on a plane:
- Get several pairs of cotton gloves like these:
White cotton gloves
Wear the cotton gloves in the airport and on the airplane.
Take multiple pairs and change them after you wipe down your area, go to bathroom, open overhead compartments, etc.
Try not to touch anything with your bare hands.
- Use Seventh Generation or CleanWell Non-toxic Disinfectant Wipes
Non-toxic Disinfectant Wipes
I only use wipes on the plane. I tried using a disinfectant spray a couple times. But it bothered the people next to me.
So be courteous and just use wipes.
Wear your gloves on the plane. With your gloves on, wipe down your area on plane with the wipes.
Wipe down these areas:
- Head rest
- Seat belt and buckles
- Seat pocket area
- Tray table
- Arm rests
- Window shade, if in a window seat
- Air flow and attendant buttons
- Turn the air flow on high
There is a lot of still air on an airplane. And air that doesn’t move concentrates germs.
Use your disinfectant wipe to turn the air flow on high. This will help blow germs away from you.
If you get cold on a plane, take a scarf or sweater. You can even wear a hat on the plane to stay warm.
- If you are very concerned, wear a Face Mask with a filter on the plane:
Face Mask with filter
The type of face mask that has a filter is much more effective for filtering out germs. And they are much easier to breathe through than you might think.
These are also great if you are sensitive to fragrance. I wore one of these masks at the hair salon. It really helped filter out the chemical smells.
- Stay very well hydrated.
Airplanes are very dry. It is easy to get dehydrated. And this can weaken your immune system. Also, cold and flu germs thrive in dry air.
Be sure to avoid caffeine. Also, bring extra water on the plane. I know airport water is expensive. But it is worth it for your health.
Further, water is a natural antihistamine. Drinking water will help decrease histamine reactions.
- Travel with your own food
Most of us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance bring our own food when we travel. There are way too many histamine and mast cell triggers in airport and airplane food.
When others are preparing and touching your food they can easily transfer cold and flu germs to you. So bringing your own food can help protect your immune system.
You’ll also be sure to have something healthy to eat. And you’ll be less tempted by junk food and other foods that could flare your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
Hotel Tips for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Cold viruses can survive for around seven days. Flu viruses are shorter, surviving around 24 hours. They live longer on metal and plastic than on fabric.
Think about this. The guest in your room checked out at 11am. She was sick with a cold. You checked in at 4pm.Those germs can survive in the room.
But there are definitely some things you can do to reduce your risk.
The big thing I do is use Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray to spray down the hotel room. If I have room in my checked bag, I take it with me. Just put it in a couple layers of sealed gallon size Ziplock bags in case it leaks.
If I don’t have room in my bag, I pick it up at Whole Foods or other grocery store. Just avoid the toxic sprays like Lysol.
Spray down everything you would touch in the room, including:
- Key Card
- Door handles, inside and outside
- Light switches
- All surface – dresser, nightstand, vanity counter, etc.
- Inside drawers
- Toilet seat, cover, and handle
- Faucet handles on sink and tub
- Tub surfaces
All these steps can go along way toward not getting sick when you travel!
For more cold and flu prevention tips, be sure to read this post: Cold and Flu Prevention for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
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