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.