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Health Information For Parents
Kids with diabetes get sick once in a while, just like other kids. However, because the effects of illness on the body can raise or lower their blood sugar levels, a few extra steps are needed to keep blood sugar levels under control.
With planning and some advice from your doctor, you’ll be ready to handle sick days with confidence.
When your child gets sick — whether it’s a minor illness like a sore throat or cold or a bigger problem like dehydration or surgery — the body sees the illness as stress. To relieve the stress, the body fights the illness. This requires more energy than the body normally uses.
In a way, this is good because it helps supply the extra fuel the body needs. But in a person with diabetes, this can lead to high blood sugar levels. While stress tends to make blood sugar rise in people with diabetes, some illnesses cause loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. The poor intake of food can lead to in low blood sugar levels in someone taking the usual doses of insulin.
In a nutshell: Blood sugar levels can be very unpredictable on sick days. You can’t know exactly how the illness will affect your child’s diabetes control. So it’s important to check your child’s blood sugar levels often on sick days and adjust insulin doses as needed.
Your child’s diabetes health care team will include sick-day instructions in the diabetes management plan. These might include:
Also, kids with diabetes should get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). It protects against serious infections, including some types of pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis. Kids with diabetes should also get a flu shot every year. These vaccines may help cut down on sick days.
Your doctor will give you specific advice about what to do when your child is sick. Here are some general guidelines:
Call your doctor if your child is sick and:
Whenever you have questions or concerns, check in with your doctor. Together, you can make sure that your child feels well again soon.
Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.
Does your child have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Learn how to manage the disease and keep your child healthy.
Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.
Taking care of your diabetes includes knowing when to call a doctor and get medical help.
When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) are too high, it’s called hyperglycemia. A major goal in controlling diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels as close to the desired range as possible.
To keep your diabetes under control, stay healthy, and prevent future problems, you need to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. To do that, check and track those levels regularly.
For people with diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is important. Having a blood sugar level that’s too high can make you feel lousy, and having high blood sugar levels a lot can be unhealthy.
Too much glucose in the blood can be unhealthy. Learn more about what to do when blood sugar is too high in this article for kids.
Ketoacidosis, a condition that can happen to people with diabetes, occurs when the body uses fat instead of glucose for fuel.
Being sick is no fun for anyone. For people with diabetes, being sick can also affect blood sugar levels.
If your child has diabetes, you can use this printable sheet to record his or her blood glucose levels.
Caring for a child with diabetes includes knowing when to get medical help. Learn more about when to call the doctor.
Diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of exercise and sports competition. Like anyone else, kids with diabetes are healthier if they get plenty of exercise.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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