Medical / Dietary Needs
What you need to know
- Some children may have intolerance to heat and may need to avoid being outside when it is warm (example: above 80 degrees). This should be determined based on individual needs and decided with the family.
- It is important for an individual with MCAD or any FAOD to eat regularly and not go without food or calories, sometimes for as little as 3 hours; this time varies between individuals and depends on circumstances.
- This is especially important during times of high metabolic stress, such as during an illness.
- This means frequent feeds as infants. Check with parents on specific duration. As the child ages, they may need a cornstarch supplement at bedtime if they have the severe form of MCAD.
- A low fat (<30% of total energy from fat) diet can be beneficial. Coconut, avocado, or high fat foods are not allowed. A high carbohydrate diet may also be recommended. It is important to be sensitive to cultural differences in diet. Carnitine supplements may benefit some children.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) must be avoided. It can come and go and may become more of an issue in teen years with hormonal changes.
- Be aware, or ask a parent, if the child has a medical alert bracelet.
What you can do
- During the school day, a student may require low fat/high carbohydrate foods throughout the day. Parents may leave cereal, popsicles, or other treats/food with the teacher or nurse to use as needed (i.e. school parties).
- When a child is sick they may require more fluids and extra starchy food. Parents may leave these drinks with the nurse to use as needed.
- Ensure sick day plans are in place for illness or other times when a child cannot eat.
- Notify a parent if you notice changes. Documenting is helpful.
NOTE: A child may appear hydrated and still be heading to crisis. They still require calories to prevent or help or help them through the metabolic crisis/stress.