Diabetes is among the most common chronic ailments reported in children and teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are more than 150,000 kids who have either type of diabetes in the United States. Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of the disease in young people. However, the CDC reports there has been an increase in cases of type 2 in recent years.
Diabetes can lead to debilitating or even life-threatening complications for a child of any age. Management and proper diabetes care for your child may help alleviate or reduce some of the side effects commonly associated with the disease. Below are six tips inspired by recommendations from the CDC and Joslin Diabetes Center to help your child better manage diabetes care.
1. Talk to your child’s school or daycare providers – Work with your child’s teachers or school staff to outline a management plan. This includes providing them with information about medications, diet and what to do in the event of an emergency. Ensure your child’s school receives updated contact information – for both you and your child’s physician – at the start of every school year.
2. Promote physical fitness – The CDC recommends young children receive one hour or more of physical activity each day. This can include anything from helping walk the dog to playing soccer in the backyard. Exercise helps improve blood sugar control while also establishing healthy habits for adulthood. Ask your pediatrician for personalized advice on activities to best suit your child’s health and abilities.
3. Establish a healthy diet – A diet that is short on added sugars, fats and “empty calories” may help keep your child’s blood sugar levels in check. Promote a healthy diet at home and at school by packing lunches stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
4. Keep up-to-date on vaccines – A child with diabetes may take more time to recover from common childhood illnesses such as the flu. Ask your pediatrician for strategies on how to fight bacteria and viruses at home and school.
5. Prepare a supply kit – Your child should have access to a well-prepared diabetes kit. This helps your child (and/or school staff) monitor blood sugar levels and respond in case of emergency. The kit may include:
- glucose tablets or quick-absorbing, high-glucose snacks (such as several pieces of hard candy, raisins and orange juice);
- blood glucose monitor and necessary supplies (test strips, lancets and so on);
- alcohol wipes;
- insulin with preferred delivery method, such as pens or syringes; and
- ketone tests.
Your child should receive age-appropriate guidelines on how to use these supplies when he or she is at school or a friend’s house.
6. Schedule regular appointments – Regular checkups with a pediatrician and other healthcare specialists can alert you early on to potential health concerns. Maintain all doctors’ records in the event you must seek disability benefits for your dependent child – these documents are crucial when building a claim.
Learn more about whether your child qualifies for Social Security disability during a free case evaluation with our team. Contact our offices in New York by calling 866-205-2415 or 866-205-2415.