JDF Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International
Educational Publications


A Child With Diabetes is in Your Care

No Cause for Alarm

This brochure is for the many people who may from time to time be responsible for a child with diabetes. It is designed to provide basic information about insulin-dependent (Type I or juvenile) diabetes so that you can feel comfortable with the child. Whether you are a teacher, a camp counselor, a baby sitter or a relative, you should realize that:

Diabetes Defined

Diabetes is a chronic disease which impairs the body's ability to use food properly. In the insulin-dependent diabetic, the pancreas does not produce insulin, a hormone necessary to burn sugar and convert it to energy for the cells. Because the sugar in the blood can't be used, it builds up in the blood stream even while the body is starved for energy. A person with this type of diabetes must take one or more injections of insulin daily to stay alive.

Insulin, however, is not a cure. It is only a means of controlling the disease.

How Diabetes Is Controlled

Diabetes control means keeping the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood as close to normal as possible. The three elements of diabetes control are:

The rule of thumb is: food makes the glucose level rise; exercise and insulin make the glucose level fall.

Diabetes control is a constant balancing act of these three factors. If the balance is thrown off, there is the danger of either of two diabetic emergencies: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar--insulin reaction or insulin "shock") or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Insulin Reaction or Shock (Low Blood Sugar/Hypoglycemia)

High Blood Sugar/Hyperglycemia (Diabetic Coma)

A Diabetic Child's Daily Routine

Consistency is the key to diabetic control. Regular meals, regular exercise, regular insulin. In addition, the child will need to test his or her blood sugar level at various times of the day to determine food or insulin need.

Diet

Children with diabetes can eat the same healthy foods as other children. Only concentrated sweets (candy, frosting, syrups, etc.) are generally off-limits. The lunchroom manager should be aware of the child's restrictions, but usually the child is taught to select the right foods.

Frequent snacks

A child with diabetes may require a mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon snack. It is vital that these and regular meals occur on time so that insulin usage is properly balanced; otherwise hypoglycemia may occur.

Exercise

Diabetic children can participate in all kinds of active sports. However, since exercise burns up a lot of sugar, the child should have an extra snack of sugary food before planned strenuous exercise to avoid low blood sugar. As a rule, exercise should not be scheduled just before any regular meal.

Self blood glucose monitoring

Several times a day, before meals, a diabetic child may need to test his or her blood sugar. Usually this involves pricking the finger and putting a drop of blood on a chemically sensitive strip and then taking a blood sugar reading on a meter.

How You Can Help the Diabetic Child in Your Care

General Tips


Have the parents fill out this form and keep with the child's records.

Name__________________________________________________

Address_______________________________________________

Parents' names________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Father's phone:     Home______________________________

                    Office____________________________

Mother's phone:     Home______________________________

                    Office____________________________

Alternate person to call in emergency_________________

______________________________________________________

Physician's name, address, phone______________________

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Symptoms the child exhibits before an insulin reaction

______________________________________________________

Time of day reaction is most likely to occur__________

Most effective treatment______________________________

______________________________________________________

Type of morning or afternoon snack____________________

Suggested "treats" for parties________________________

Parents will supply _______________________ for snacks

Type of insulin used__________________________________

Shots per day/units per shot__________________________

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Copyright 1996 Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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