Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a condition where the body is not able to produce the insulin hormone. Young children affected with diabetes mellitus are unable to produce any insulin at all. So, they are completely dependent on insulin administered through injections or pumps. Failure to take insulin and poor blood sugar control leads to kidney, eye, and cardiac complications. Not only should parents keep a check on their children, but it is also very important for teachers and staff to be aware of this condition as they are readily available with them.
Emergency Situations And How To Deal With Them
High blood sugar may lead to dizziness, dehydration, and confusion. Often, the child may vomit or have breathing difficulties; this is an emergency, the child’s parents and a doctor should be contacted immediately. The child must be moved to a hospital as soon as possible, and they must have all pertinent information with them at all times, like doctors’ phone numbers, hospital name and address. Children with diabetes must carry their glucometers to school, where teachers and staff should also be trained to check blood sugar and be taught to read and record the findings.
Low blood sugar may occur especially in times of excessive strenuous activity. The child may be sweaty, hungry, and irritable or may feel confused or sleepy. This situation can be tackled by immediately checking the blood sugar levels.
Psychosocial Issues In Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus At School
There are psychological issues which need to be tackled in such children. A type 1 diabetic child may often feel different because they need to watch what they eat and avoid sugary and fried snacks. They also need to take injections or dial small doses of insulin into their pumps during school hours, which heightens their sense of being different. All of these situations can make them feel extremely self-conscious.
How To Tackle The Problem?
Careful counselling, continued support from parents, teachers, and friends help integrate the child into the school. Children are very understanding and non-judgmental but curious. So, if the classmates don’t understand why this child is being treated differently, they may tease and bully them thinking they are getting special attention. However, if the classmates and peers of the child are explained regarding the disease, difficulties this child faces, and how they can help him/her, they would be more than willing to help and support their friend. With support and encouragement from teachers and peers, the child can live a normal and healthy life at school.
Article courtesy goes to Dr Tejal Lathia, Consultant Endocrinologist, Hiranandani Hospital.