As parents, we are always out to protect our children from dangerous things in their environment, whether it’s strangers, busy streets, or the monsters in their closets. But protecting our kids becomes more complicated when the danger is less obvious: a cleaner, a car’s exhaust, or your new perfume.
This is the case for parents with children who have multiple chemical sensitivity. Kids with MCS have intense reactions to chemicals in their environment. Symptoms include:
- Muscle ache
- Shortness of breath
To help you keep your kids safe, we’ve compiled these tips for helping kids with multiple chemical sensitivity.
Discuss MCS With Your Family
It’s easy for us to want to avoid talking to our kids about serious topics like health. We’re worried about scaring them or making them uncomfortable. But having a family meeting where you talk about what MCS is, your child’s symptoms, and their triggers will help everyone work together to protect your child’s health.
Having this discussion doesn’t have to be scary. Be candid and optimistic, not sugar-coating the issue but encouraging your child that they will be ok and everyone in the house will help them.
Identify Triggers in the Home
One of the most important ways to help kids with a chemical sensitivity is to help them navigate their triggers and symptoms. This means identifying common sources of VOCs in your home, such as:
- Cigarette smoke
- Body spray
It’s a good idea to have a journal in a public area in the house where you and your family can record the child’s triggers. Whenever there is an attack, it’s a good idea to make a record of it to help you identify additional triggers in the future.
Inform Your Child’s School District
It’s difficult, but you can’t always be with your child. Teaching your child about their condition will empower them to be able to manage their own symptoms. But even the most capable kid needs a little help.
This is where getting your child’s school district involved is crucial. After an evaluation, your student may be entitled to protection under a 504 plan. That way, schools can modify your child’s day to protect their health.