People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

  • Reassure the person that you understand he or she is chemically sensitive and will work with him or her in providing care. Be sure to ask what the
    person is sensitive to, including his or her history of reactions to various drugs you may have to administer.
  • Flag the person’s chart or other written information that he or she is chemically sensitive.
  • Whenever possible, take the person’s own medical supplies and equipment with them, including oxygen mask and tubing, medications, food and
    water; bedding, clothing, and soap—he or she may be sensitive to these items if issued at a shelter or hospital.
  • If you do administer drugs:
    • Administer low doses with caution.
    • Use IV fluid bottled in glass without dextrose if possible—many people react to corn-based dextrose.
    • Capsules are generally better than tablets—they have fewer binders, fillers and dyes.
    • If administering anesthesia, use short-acting regional rather than general anesthesia whenever possible and try to avoid the use of halogenated
      gas anesthetics.
  • Consult with the person’s environmental physician if possible.
  • If the person is taken to an emergency shelter or a hospital, help protect him or her from air pollution. Some suggestions:
    • Avoid placing the person in rooms with recent pesticide sprays, strong scented disinfectants or cleaners, new paint or carpet, or other
      recent remodeling.
    • Place a sign on the door stating that the person inside has chemical sensitivities.
    • Assign caregivers who are not wearing perfume or fabric softener on clothes and who are not smokers.
    • Allow the person to wear a mask or respirator, use an air filter, or open a window as needed.
    • Keep the door to the person’s room closed, if possible.
    • Reduce time the person spends in other parts of the hospital, if possible, by performing as many procedures and evaluations as possible in his
      or her room.