If your child has diabetes, it can require a great deal of care and coordination between you and your child’s doctor to manage your child’s blood sugar levels and ensure that their diabetes is under control. This article will cover some helpful tips for parents and caregivers wanting to know more about managing sugar levels in children.
Monitoring Sugar Levels Daily
Your child will likely require blood sugar testing daily to help ensure that their sugar levels are under control. Most blood sugar monitors come with log books, or you can consider using a digital app on your computer or smartphone. Keeping track of your child’s levels also helps you keep this important information handy if your child’s doctor ever needs it. When tracking your child’s blood sugar levels, you may be able to identify patterns such as a drop in blood sugar around a certain time of day. This can help you to prevent low blood sugar episodes by being prepared for them.
Preparing for Diabetic Emergencies
Low blood sugar can happen quickly, and it is important that kids, parents, and caregivers know and recognize the signs that treatment might be needed. These signs could include shakiness, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, sweating, chills, irritability, trouble concentrating, hunger, nausea, blurred vision, or fatigue.
An episode of low blood sugar can usually be remedied by offering your child a quick sugary snack, some fruit juice, or a special glucose tablet or gel. Your child’s doctor may prescribe a rescue medication known as Glucagon, which can work much faster during a diabetic emergency. Parents and caregivers should also keep snacks on hand to help prevent their children from developing low blood sugar in the first place and encourage kids to never skip meals or overexert themselves during physical activity.
On the flip side, high blood sugar is also a risk in kids with diabetes. Parents need to be aware of those symptoms as well, including excess urination, excess thirst, weight loss, and fatigue. High blood sugar can be caused by not taking enough insulin, overeating, periods of illness, periods of inactivity, and even stress or hormonal changes. Treatment may include increasing your child’s water intake and giving an extra dosage of insulin.
Coordinating with Your Child’s School
You will likely need to work with the nurse at your child’s school as well as their teachers and other support staff to ensure that your child’s diabetes is managed properly while at school. They may need to keep a glucose monitor at school as well as insulin and other medication.
A Diabetes Medical Management Plan will help clarify what course of action the school staff should take to help your child if they are experiencing high or low blood sugar at school. Your child may also need special accommodations in the classroom (such as permission to bring a snack) or in their physical education class.
Encouraging a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Kids with diabetes need to be especially mindful of what they eat. Eating a balanced diet of meals and snacks throughout the day is very important for kids with diabetes, as is remaining physically active. Kids with diabetes should avoid foods that are high in simple carbohydrates or sugar. These foods can raise blood sugar too quickly. It is also good to avoid fatty and salty foods that can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you need assistance with managing your child’s blood sugar levels, please schedule an office visit today to discuss diabetes management with one of our knowledgeable, board-certified pediatricians.