Contact the ward before your admission
date to discuss the following to determine what would be allowed
and therefore help you prepare yourself for your visit. You'll probably
find you'll end up educating and training the staff at the hospital
in environmental illness!
For you - considerations
Remember your charcoal filter mask and keep one or two by you as
Try to use your own bed linens and towels.
Take with you suitable bottled water.
Make the staff aware of special dietary needs that food sensitivities
creates therefore no preservatives, additives, flavourings, MSG
An MCS sufferer can prepare for surgery by lowering the total load
of chemical exposures and increasing the intake of antioxidants,
vitamins, and minerals. High levels of vitamin C before and during
surgery (1 to 4 grams every 4 hours) helps to tolerate any chemical
overload resulting from treatment.
For the hospital
It would be helpful to "code" MCS sufferers or label the
patient's bed or room to alert all hospital personnel. Take your
own personal label for your bed as unfortunately MCS issues are
Encourage the members of the medical team to be fragrance-free,
especially in regard to perfumes and colognes.
Make sure room is not carpeted whenever possible.
Keep the use of plastic to a minimum. Use paper tape instead of
plastic tape. If possible test tape, and suture material 48 hours
prior to surgery to observe any adverse reaction. Avoid latex gloves.
Try to improve the air quality in the ward. Open windows if possible.
Utilize available air filters.
Watch out for open containers of chemicals in the room.
If you can wash down the sinks with a water and baking soda solution
to remove disinfectant and pesticide odours.
If oxygen needs to be given see if ceramic mask over a plastic mask
would be allowed
Drugs and chemically
Keep medications as simple and minimal as possible. 1/4 to 1/2 the
usual dosage of the drug may be adequate.
Drug reactions are very common in chemically sensitive patients.
Observe for symptoms such as spastic muscles, pulling parathesias,
hyperesthesia or hypoesthesia, and jitteriness. Also, observe for
local swelling, hives, syncope, hyperventilation, seizures, asthma,
severe anaphylaxis, site inflammation, severe fatigue, increased
0.2 mEq/kg of magnesium over a 4 hour period daily may relieve spasms.
No oral medication if possible.
Avoid antihistamines and steroids if possible.
For intravenous fluids, use IV 0.45 normal saline in glass bottles,
not plastic. Soft plastics such as those used for IV drips and blood
bags contain phthalates, which include many toxic chemicals such
as hormone disrupters. These chemicals leach into the IV solution
and can cause reactions in a sensitive person.
Always spend time carefully explaining your condition to the anaesthetist
so that the most appropriate drug can be found for you.
Do not test anaesthetic drugs before use. Use local anaesthetics,
such as preservative-free and epinephrine-free whenever possible.
Do not use halogenated hydrocarbons (Fluothane, Ethrane, Penthrane).
The chemically sensitive patient can get dramatically worse with
gas anaesthetics. After recovery it can take days to return to a
normal state. Inhaled anaesthetic should be avoided if at all possible
since the fluorinated hydrocarbons and nitrous oxide are known to
be immunosuppressants. Check all drugs for preservatives.
John Stanlake has developed an anaesthetic
suitable for MCS sufferers called ‘atracurium besilate’
which is for short to intermediate anaesthesia and is administered
via a drip which encourages muscle relaxation. Once the drip is
removed the anaesthesia will start to wear off. It relies on a chemical
process to occur in the body rather than alternative anaesthetics
which rely on the breakdown of enzymes in the body. It has been
useful for sufferers whose exposure resulted from organophosphate
AVOID the anaesthetic named ‘suxamethonium’ as this
has had a severe adverse effect of MCS sufferers. This anaesthetic
relies on the breakdown of enzymes in the body.
For more information about anaesthetics
Vitamin C IV, if tolerated from a 25 grams in glass bottle. This
may be administered before and after surgery. Repeat if necessary.
This is most effective but does need a prescription.
Try to prevent the use any dyes; discuss this prior to surgery.
Ask for safe sutures such as silk, cotton, gut-lamb and avoid synthetics
Antibiotics given intravenously provoke fewer reactions than when
given orally. In-line intravenous filters should be used for higher
tolerances. Post-surgery, use a TENS unit or acupuncture for pain
control. Else, use a suitable painkiller.
The following post-op complications may be due to unrecognized sensitivities
and/or inciting agents: phlebitis, pulmonary embolism, edema, petechiae,
increased drug reactivity, muscle spasm, nervousness or depression,
myalgia, arthralgia, headaches, bloating. Bring these to the attention
of your medical team prior to any treatment.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute
for a doctor’s care or treatment. Please consult with your
doctor before acting on any of the recommendations.
Additionally discuss the risks MCS imposes on you with your doctor
and anaesthesiologist before surgery.