Mexico City, September 12, 2022.- In the care of children with diabetes at school, doing the task corresponds to parents and teachers, who must work as a team to ensure that the conditions within the school premises favor the development of the child in an environment of safety and inclusion.
Dr. Carmen Alicia López Forero, medical manager for insulins at Novo Nordisk, explained that children spend almost half of their waking hours in school, so it is really important that they have reliable diabetes care. “Parents need to inform the staff that will be in contact with their children about everything they need to take care of so that they can carry out their activities like any other child, without putting their safety at risk. Health.”
Dr. López Forero recommended that parents prepare a checklist to ensure that all the supplies that the child needs for diabetes care, such as a glucometer, spare batteries, reactive strips, insulin and pens to administer it, are in the backpack. antiseptic wipes, fast-acting carbohydrates like candy or fruit juice, to raise blood sugar levels if needed.
In addition, parents should create a personalized plan for the management and treatment of their child’s diabetes and review it with teachers or medical personnel who are in contact with their child. “This plan needs to specify the desired blood sugar level and explain how to measure it. They also need to explain how often insulin needs to be administered and how to do it when children are young. This plan should include meals and snacks, as well like meals at special events.”
At school, children with diabetes must participate in sports activities just like the rest of their peers, so it will be a priority for parents to inform teachers and physical trainers how to manage physical activity and teach them to identify episodes of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar and how to treat it.
“Parents should let teachers know the specific signs of hypoglycemia, such as shakiness, nervousness or anxiety, sweating or chills, irritability, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, hunger or nausea, blurred vision, weakness or fatigue. If the teacher identifies these symptoms can tell the child to have a snack and contact the child’s parents or doctor, for which the school must have their contact information,” added Novo Nordisk’s medical manager for insulins.
In turn, children must know the rules in the classroom. “Can students leave the classroom, for example, to the bathroom, without asking permission? Here it is important to emphasize the importance that both children and teachers understand each other’s needs,” said Dr. López Forero.
Recommendations to be taken into account by teachers
The Novo Nordisk Diabetes Foundation recommends the following actions to facilitate the integration and development of children with diabetes in the school environment:
1. Adjust the treatment of children and adolescents according to their glucose levels at any given time. Blood glucose levels (glycaemia) are highly variable throughout the day, depending on higher or lower energy consumption, stress, food eaten, fasting time, etc.
2. Insulin injections on the day. Most children require three doses a day (before breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Pre-filled syringes with the appearance of a pen or ballpoint pen are now used, which have made insulin injections much easier. Insulin pumps can also be used.
3. If the children are young, the parents will indicate the appropriate dose to inject. At school there must be an adult trained to inject insulin.
4. If they are children who self-inject, they must do so in a suitable place (you can inject yourself in class or in a private and hygienic place). The school must be informed about it.
5. Children with diabetes need to frequently measure their blood glucose levels and act accordingly. Very young children must be supervised. It is important to facilitate these measurements in class or in a hygienic place.
6. Children and adolescents with diabetes should follow a meal plan that is generally very similar to the correct diet of a healthy child. It is important to respect schedules and if the school has a dining room, the menus must be balanced in variety and quantity, with the supervision of parents and school staff.
7. During exercise, the child should have easy access to glucose or other carbohydrates to treat or prevent hypoglycemia. If the exercise is prolonged, you should take a supplement of 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrates every half hour (eg: cookies or bread sticks). After exercise, the child with diabetes should check her blood glucose levels to see if she needs extra food. If glucose is low, the use of insulin is not recommended.
“Teaching staff and school caregivers must bear in mind that children with diabetes can do anything, with due care, and include and integrate them in all activities carried out at school, like any other This will decisively contribute to the child growing up happy and with their emotions in balance”, concluded Dr. Carmen Alicia López Forero.