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Immune Support Facts and Tips for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Immune Support / MCAS Education / Research Updates
People with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance have been asking me about the current Coronavirus outbreak. I want to provide you with some clear, calm information.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of research on this latest Coronavirus. I’ve been noticing that the majority of people are either panicking or in denial.
My goal here is to provide a rational, reasonable approach. And to give you some action steps you can take.
This isn’t a doomsday situation. I’m also not going to say everything is fine.
There is a huge amount of misinformation out there. And most news sources make more money with scare tactics.
I’m going to cover what we know at this point from reliable, scientific sources.
NOTE: These stats are changing daily. I’ll address updates in the comments.
Facts you need to know about COVID-19 Coronavirus if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Coronavirus describes a class of viruses. Many cold viruses are coronaviruses. So coronaviruses aren’t new. And they aren’t rare. SARS and MERS are examples of more serious types of Coronavirus. But SARS and MERS aren’t very contagious between people.
The strain spreading now is being called COVID-19. This stands for Corona Virus Disease 2019. I’m going to refer to it as Coronavirus below for simplicity.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus?
The most common symptoms are fever and cough. About 33% of people have shortness of breath. And some of the less common symptoms are; muscle aches, headaches, confusion, chest pain, and diarrhea.
It presents similar to flu. But there are some differences. Flu usually starts suddenly. While COVID-19 Coronavirus may have a longer incubation period. This means it can take several days from exposure to when you have symptoms.
Flu symptoms commonly include muscle aches. This is much less common in the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Most cases are mild and don’t need treatment. If you have a high fever and a cough, you’ll want to seek treatment. If you have trouble breathing, be sure to get help quickly.
How does COVID-19 Coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 Coronavirus spreads from person-to person like colds and the flu. These virus spread from close contact (less than 6 feet) with an infected person.
It may also be possible for it to spread by coming into contact with respiratory droplets or mucous from an infected person. Then you transfer the viruses in the droplets or mucous to your nose, mouth, or inhale into your lungs.
Sounds gross? This is how we get sick all the time. And we don’t even think about it.
You touch the shopping cart handle someone sneezed on. You then rub your eyes, touch your nose. Or you grab a mint and pop it into your mouth after touching the cart.
Or you sit near someone infected and breathe the same air.
Keep reading – in the next section. I’m sharing with you a lot of tips how to avoid these germs.
What is the real death rate?
No one knows the death rate of COVID-19 Coronavirus yet. The media has been quoting death rates of around 4% or more. The problem is the study quoted was done on hospitalized patients.
Those quotes didn’t take into account the death rate of the general population. This inflates the real death rate.
I’ve seen rampant misinformation from media sources taking research statistics out of context. This is a really unethical reporting practice.
Contagion Outbreak expert Amesh Adalja, MD., the most reasonable and likely death rate is around .7% to 1%. This would be for the general population.
But the World Heath Organization is now reporting 3.4%. So we just don’t know right now.
For comparison, the death rate from the flu in the US changes year to year. This is because there are different strains each year. The average is about one-tenth of a percent of all cases. This is .1%. Sometimes it is higher depending on the flu strain.
What’s the big deal? How is it different from the flu?
Some people think this is just another cold or flu. So what gives?
The bigger problems may be:
The death rate is likely higher than the flu. It is extremely unlikely the death rate is as high as 4.5%. It is likely between .7% and 3.4%. But this is still anywhere from 7 to 34 times higher than most strains of the flu.
Most cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus are mild. But those with underlying health issues may have more severe complications. This includes those with inflammatory conditions. Both Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance are types of inflammatory conditions. It also includes people with lung problems, heart issues, and diabetes.
COVID-19 Coronavirus is likely 2 to 3 times more contagious than the flu. This may not seem like a lot. But viruses spread exponentially. So, it can spread much faster than the flu. It has been spreading fairly rapidly already.
If you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you always need to be more careful about not getting sick. And you really want to avoid COVID-19 Coronavirus if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Why is this? There is a class of inflammatory immune mast cell proteins called cytokines. Mast cells and other immune cells create cytokines.
The breathing complications in COVID-19 Coronavirus are due to cytokines raging out of control in the lungs. This makes those with inflammatory immune conditions like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome more at risk for complications.
Given the complications of COVID-19 Coronavirus in inflammatory conditions, it definitely makes sense to avoid catching it. Protect your immune system by following the tips below.
Preparing for COVID-19 Coronavirus if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
You are probably now wanting to know what you can do to protect yourself from Coronavirus when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. Here are my top tips for you.
Avoid Picking up Viral and Bacterial Germs
You can catch COVID-19 Coronavirus by being nearby someone who is infected and breathing the same air. You can also catch it by touching objects an infected person has sneezed, coughed, or breathed on.
This is because the germs are transferred into the air by breathing and through body secretions like mucous.
Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
The most important thing you can do is to keep your hands germ free. This also goes for things you touch often.
Wash your hands every time you enter your home from being out. Wash your hands before you eat or prepare food.
The CDC says it takes 20 seconds of hand washing to wash germs off. I’m more thorough and do 30 seconds of hand washing. Just count in your head – 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc..
Research shows plain soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizer. Antibacterial Soap hasn’t shown to be more effective than plain soap. You can read more about it in this post .
Many soaps have fragrances and other mast cell triggering ingredients. I have Mast Cell safe soap options listed here: https://mastcell360.com/mcas-resources/
Avoid Germ Ridden Surfaces
One of the most germ ridden things you touch all day is your phone. Use a Seventh Generation Disinfectant Wipe to wipe down your phone after being out. (These wipes are non-toxic. Clorox wipes and others have mast cell triggering ingredients. So avoid those.)
If you use a public computer or other devices, wipe the keyboard and mouse down before you use it.
Avoid touching door knobs, grocery cart handles, gas pumps, etc. I keep a dozen of these White cotton gloves or Knit Gloves in my car. I wear a pair to pump gas, then turn them inside out as I take them off. I wear gloves in the grocery too. Then I wash them in the washing machine.
If you use the wipes at the grocery to wipe down your cart it will make the cart wet. This can transfer germs through the cotton or knit gloves. If I’m going to touch wet surfaces, I wear Nitrile gloves .
Avoid Touching Your Face, Nose, Eyes, Mouth
The most common way you get sick is by touching something with germs. Then touching your face, nose, eyes, or mouth. Or touching something you are going to put into your mouth.
Just watch how many times a day you touch your face, nose, eyes, and mouth. You’ll probably be surprised.
Work on NEVER touching your face, nose eyes and mouth when you are out. Then thoroughly wash your hands before you touch these areas.
Should you wear a mask?
Likely no. A mask will only help if you are very close to someone who is sick for more than a few minutes. Like if you are caretaking a sick person. Or if you are on a crowded bus.
Or a mask would help you to not transfer the germs to someone else if you are sick.
A mask likely won’t help if you are just walking around in general public areas.
Unfortunately there has been a run on masks and they are very hard to find now. Healthcare workers are likely now going to run out of masks. This could be disastrous on a large scale.
The most responsible thing we can do is to leave the masks for the healthcare workers. Unless you are seriously immune compromised. Or if someone in your family falls ill.
An important note for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome: wearing a mask lowers your oxygen levels. This is a trigger for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. So only wear as necessary.
Is it safe to travel?
It depends on where you are traveling too. And how easily you get sick. If you’re immune system is compromised, I always recommend being cautious with travel in the winter.
COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading quickly. It isn’t necessary to cancel everything. But you also want to be thoughtful in planning trips.
Here is a reliable contagion map where you can see confirmed cases: