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Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease - Treatment Overview

The goal of your child's treatment for type 1 diabetes is to always keep his or her blood sugar levels within a target range. A target range reduces the chance of diabetes complications. Daily diabetes care and regular medical checkups will help you and your child accomplish this goal.

Daily care

Your child's daily care includes:

Some problems you may encounter include:

  • Changing appetite and "picky eating." A registered dietitian can help you build a flexible meal plan to meet your child's appetite needs and allow for special events, such as parties and school activities. If you use rapid-acting insulin, you can give the insulin dose after a meal based on what your child ate. Some tips for mealtimes with young children include having alternative meal choices.
  • Illness. Work with your doctor to set up sick-day guidelines for your child. These help you prevent high blood sugar emergencies when your child is ill. Talk with the doctor before giving your child any nonprescription medicine.
  • Exercise. If your child is not very active, limit his or her time playing video games, watching TV, or using the computer. Plan some activities to do along with your child, such as in-line skating or bicycling. Use these tips for exercising safely to help prevent low blood sugar in your child.

You will also want to:

  • Always have your child wear medical identification to let medical personnel know that he or she has diabetes. You can buy medical identification bracelets camera.gif, necklaces, or other forms of jewelry at a pharmacy or on the Internet. Temporary medical identification tattoos are another form of medical identification.
  • Teach your child about good foot care. Foot problems are rare in children who have diabetes. But adults can have foot problems, especially with diabetic neuropathy. Teach your child the importance of wearing shoes that fit properly. Check your child's feet if he or she has signs of injury or infection. Teach your child to get in the habit of washing and drying feet thoroughly. If you notice a foot problem, even a minor one, talk with your child's doctor before treating it.
  • Keep your child's day care or school plan for diabetes care up to date. Have written instructions for your babysitter and other caregivers.
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  • Help your child care for his or her skin and teeth and gums. Make sure your child has a dental checkup every 6 months.
  • Keep your child's immunizations up to date. This includes a flu shot every year.
  • Participate in a support group for parents of children who have diabetes. These groups can be very helpful, especially the first few years after diagnosis. Local groups are available in most areas.
  • Encourage your child to attend camps for children who have diabetes. Diabetes camps are a good learning experience for your child, and they will allow you some time to yourself.
  • Allow your child who has diabetes to help with the treatment, given his or her age and experience with the disease.
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