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Vasculitis UK
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Travelling on plane, low blood count

Hi, I am flying to Rome early tomorrow morning and my consultant nephrologist rang me this evening to say my white blood count has dropped (3. Something!) i stopped taking steroids 6 weeks ago. I have now been told to stop Azathioprine immediately. He says it’s fine for me to go but it’s the germs on the plane worrying me the most! Any ideas anyone?

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There is some evidence that using a face mask does protect you to some extent - probably better if you change it a few times so it doesn't get too wet. The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese all do it - so you wouldn't be alone! You will get a pack from the pharmacy I imagine. And use a scarf around your face too. Get antibacterial wipes and wipe EVERYTHING around you, expecially the armrests and table on your seat.

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Yes my husband suggested that but I didn’t know if I would get any masks anywhere. Thanks.

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You can get them at some pharmacies and also at home improvement centers where workman buy them to protect against inhaling fumes and other debris in various types of projects. But you cannot 100% protect yourself against the" world"; it's not just the plane; it's airports in general, snack bars, restrooms and anywhere there are large groups of people congregate, not to mention restaurants and sight seeing attractions,, hotel rooms.. You don't want to be carrying antiseptic wipes everywhere you go while on a nice trip.

I think you will be fine with or without a mask; don't spoil your trip by becoming preoccupied with germs and protective devices.

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Yes, and hand washing frequently is important and try to keep hands away from face.

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Wearing a face mask may help, but the most important is to keep your hands germ free. A disinfectant gel would do. If you sit next to a person coughing etc ask to change seat explaining why.

If the plane is not full explain the situation and ask to sit on your own.

Enjoy your time in Rome. I hope this is a blip and your white cells will go up fast.

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Thank you.

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I’ve been asked to do that in the past. I just came off aziathioprine for a week then dropped to a lower dose & all was fine

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Enjoy lovely Rome 👍☀️😀

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Thank you. Arrived this morning and absolutely love it!

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Hope your trip is uneventful and you stay well . The main areas to be aware of is the tray area on the plane and going through security. Use lots of hand gel and good hand washing.

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I’m regularly at 3 something and don’t pick up more than the normal amount of colds etc. There is always an added risk on a plane of course for obvious reasons. After 4 years of reasonable stability on my bloods over recent months my counts have been dropping. Having hit Hb 121, wbc 2.4, Plats 91, I have now been told to stop azathioprine with follow up blood test in a week. Despite these low readings I still feel well. Hope this is some reassurance for you.

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Thank you it is reassuring to hear. Hope you soon return to normal levels.

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You can get masks at pharmacies, hardware stores, target, Walmart, paint stores just about anywhere.

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Wear a mask?

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There was no time to get one! Consultant called on Friday evening and left at 4.30 a.m following morning! None at airport. Anyway back now. Had a lovely time. No repercussions so far!

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