Children usually interpret illnesses as stress, regardless of whether they are minor ailments such as a sore throat or major ones like dehydration or surgery. As a way to cope with stress, the body fights illnesses. For this reason, the body requires more energy than normal at this time. When a child has diabetes, it's impossible to predict when they are sick. In this case, keep an eye on your child's blood sugar levels to adjust your insulin dosage as needed when they are sick.
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In the diabetes management plan, as advised by Dr. Francene Gayle your child's diabetes health care team will provide sick-day instructions. Among them are:
- How to monitor both blood sugar levels and ketones when your child is sick
- What over-the-counter and prescription medications are okay to give your child
- How you can adjust your child's diet, drink, and medication
- When should you contact a diabetes health care provider?
Children with diabetes should also receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). This treatment can help prevent a few types of pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis. They should also receive flu shots annually to prevent illnesses.
Regular Physical Activity
With or without diabetes, exercise is beneficial for everyone. Maintaining a regular physical activity schedule is also important to managing the disease. Regular exercises prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Exercise can benefit them in other ways as well:
- Keeping their heart, lungs, and blood vessels healthy
- Controls cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Gives them the feeling that they can do things that kids without diabetes can
- Keeps the body in a healthy weight range
Exercise supports better insulin function in children with diabetes. However, they may require adjustments to their meals and insulin apart from exercise.
Plan Meals and Eat Healthy
Kids with diabetes need to eat a healthy diet that includes foods that help their bodies grow and function properly, the same way that those without diabetes do.
A typical meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner with between-meal snacks. A healthy diet plan will not restrict your child to eating particular foods but guide you in selecting foods from the basic food groups.
Plan meals based on kids' age, activity level, schedule, likes and dislikes, as well as being flexible enough to accommodate special occasions like parties and holidays.
Taking care of a sick child
Parents must follow the advice of their child's doctor when they are on their sick days. The following are some general guidelines:
Stay on track
If your child's doctor does not tell you otherwise, ensure your child keeps taking the same diabetes medicines. Your child should continue taking insulin during illness, despite reduced food intake.
Let your child rest
Children who are sick need rest, so encourage them to sleep and rest as much as possible. It might be necessary for children who usually manage diabetes on their own to take a break for a short time.
Use medicines wisely
Although doctors disagree about whether over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are effective in treating colds and the flu, they still prescribe them. The problem with these products is they contain ingredients that affect blood sugar levels, either raising or lowering them or imitating the symptoms of high and low blood sugar.
Always consult your doctor before giving your child OTC medicine.
When to Call a Doctor
Contact your doctor if:
- Your child has persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Has no appetite or has difficulty eating or drinking
- The blood or urine contains moderate or high levels of ketones
- Have diabetes ketoacidosis symptoms
- Have low blood sugar levels because of poor food intake or blood glucose levels that do not lower even after taking extra insulin
- Consult your doctor whenever you have questions. Doing this can help your child is feeling better again soon by working together