Diabetes in Children

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that causes problems with the body’s ability to convert food into fuel for the body. It is diagnosed by a blood test that checks the glucose levels, as well as by checking ketones in the urine. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is when the body does not produce enough insulin to move the sugar in the bloodstream into the cells to use for energy. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Type 2 is when the pancreas makes less insulin than it used to and the body becomes resistant to the hormone. Therefore, the cells do not use glucose which then builds up in the blood. When diabetes is left unmanaged, the high glucose levels in the blood can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, and nervous system over many years.

Most children with diabetes have Type 1, which can be caused by an autoimmune reaction where the immune system attacks its beta cells, leading to the inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is less common among children, though in recent years, the rate has gone up with the increase in childhood obesity. Obesity and unhealthy diets are risk factors and Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by following good health habits. 

Symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger and thirst, fatigue, irritability, blurry vision, darkened areas of the skin, increased urination, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, dry skin, and weight loss. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it’s important that you call our office to talk to our pediatrician. Your child may need to take a glucose test to see if they have the condition. If they are diagnosed, there are several treatments to control the disease so that your child can continue to lead a normal life. 

To help keep the blood sugar in the normal range, it’s important to monitor the glucose levels on a regular schedule. Insulin as a shot or oral medicine may be prescribed to your child to control their blood sugar. Children should take these as instructed. Taking too much insulin can cause hypoglycemia (which is when the blood sugar is too low) and not taking enough can cause the blood sugar to remain high.   

Children should also follow a well-balanced and healthy diet and doing so can lower the risk of diabetes. If your child has diabetes, you can talk to our pediatrician about creating a meal plan to help manage their condition. Generally, though, kids should eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, high-fiber food, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats like nuts and avocados. Foods with saturated fat, added sugar, and refined carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum. It’s also essential to avoid sugary beverages like juice and soda. Instead, kids should drink plain water or milk. We recommend paying close attention to nutrition food labels to check serving sizes and what the products contain, as well as their daily percentage values. For more information about how to follow nutrition food labels, check out this resource here. 

In addition to following a healthy diet, children should regularly exercise and get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Exercising lowers blood sugar and helps manage weight. To encourage your child to get adequate exercise, engage them in physical activities that they find fun, such as sports, swimming, bike riding, or dance.  

If you have any questions or concerns about managing your child’s diabetes, call our office. We are here to provide treatment information and resources for your family.

Storm Preparation for Your Family

It’s hurricane season, and we know there’s been severe weather, floods, and storms lately. We want to share preparation tips so that you can keep your family safe. It’s always important to know what to do before, during, and after a storm and to have an emergency plan in place.

To prepare your family for disasters, stay up to date with the news and know your reliable sources where you can get weather updates. When a storm is coming, signing up for alerts can help with getting the latest information and warnings. Keep your family informed and talk to your children about the precautions that they should take. While it’s sometimes difficult to predict the outcomes of a storm, it’s good to be aware of the potential risks and have the necessary supplies should they be needed. That includes getting flash lights in case you lose power, batteries, portable phone chargers, a first aid kit, and plenty of food, water, and essentials in case you can’t go to the store for days. As you might not be able to heat food without power, it’s best to stock up on non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking. For water, make sure you have about one gallon per person per day. Create a supplies list so that you don’t forget any item that you might need.

Before a storm hits, write down phone numbers of places you might need to contact within your local community, such as the doctor’s office. If Wi-Fi is lost during a storm, you may not be able to access the Internet to look up contact information. If evacuation becomes necessary or you’re at risk of losing basic utilities for a long period, plan where your family will go ahead of time. Know what you will need to pack for you and your kids.

Follow any warnings about flash floods and avoid driving when possible. Floods can be highly dangerous and wash cars away. If you are ever in a vehicle and it stalls, leave immediately and find higher ground. Rising water can engulf the entire car and everyone inside. Keep your kids away from flood water and do not allow them to walk through it.

If your area has been affected by floods, keep in mind that even the aftermath can be hazardous. Electrical dangers, mold, and contamination are some of the common things that occur after a flood. Children and teens should be kept away from flash flood recovery and clean up. They should only return to a home or area after it has been cleaned and disinfected. Double check your water supply before allowing your family to drink it.

To protect your home during a storm, board up windows and glass sliding doors. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and have working batteries. To help stay warm during winter storms, insulate your walls and have enough blankets and sweaters for your family. If you are out of a heat for an extended period and you don’t have a generator or a fireplace, move your family to another home or alternative shelter with heat. Extreme cold can cause hypothermia. Do not use the gas stove as it can produce carbon monoxide. Generators should also be away from windows or any air intakes.

It’s common for children to feel anxious and scared before and during storms. We recommend limiting their media exposure and instead, explain to them with enough information for them to understand but not feel alarmed. Reassure them that by taking the necessary steps for preparation, they can remain safe.

For further resources, we recommend bookmarking the below links.

National Weather Service


Family Disaster Supplies List from the AAP

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and whether it’s your child’s first or tenth Halloween, we have tips to ensure a safe, healthy, and fun celebration!

The holiday is an exciting time for kids to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, enjoy candies and treats, and partake in the season’s festivities. But there are also extra risks to be aware of and precautions to follow. If you have a young child trick-or-treating, it’s important to have an adult accompany them. For older children, be aware of the route they’re taking and encourage them to stay in groups. They should also carry a phone with them that’s charged in case of an emergency.

Remind your kids about being careful on streets for oncoming cars and that they should always look both ways before crossing. Low visibility and distracted walking are common reasons for pedestrian injuries. It’s best to stick to sidewalks whenever possible and in well-lit areas.

As children are the most common victims of dog bites, teach your kids never to pet a dog at someone’s house or apartment without permission from the owner. It’s also important that they refuse to accept any candy or treat that isn’t properly sealed. Tampering is rare but it can happen. Double check the treats when your kids bring them home and throw out any unwrapped or suspicious candy.

Additionally, some treats can be choking hazards so keep a watch on your kid and let them know not to walk or talk while eating. Babies and toddlers should never be given any hard candies, popcorn, gum, jelly beans, or gummy bears.

For children with food allergies, extra precautions are necessary. Even a small amount of an allergic ingredient can result in a medical emergency. To avoid this, always read the ingredient labels on the treats your child receives. Some of the common allergens found in Halloween candies include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, and wheat. If your child does have any food allergy, make sure their teacher at school knows as it’s common to pass out Halloween treats in class.

While candies and sweet treats are always fun to indulge in on Halloween, you’ll still want to limit the amount your child consumes. Candies are high in added sugar and have empty calories. Consider only allowing your kids to have 1-3 candies in a day.

For a safe Halloween, there are essential things to keep in mind for your children’s costumes. They should only dress up in costumes that fit well. Avoid long capes and clothing that extend past their feet as those can cause them to trip, especially if they’re trick-or-treating when it’s dark. If they’re carrying accessories like fake swords, make sure they’re not sharp to prevent potential injuries. When it comes to any makeup or face paint, stick with non-toxic options and do a test patch on your child first. Some makeup can cause allergic reactions or infections.

Be careful with decorative contact lenses as these can be dangerous for the eyes and cause vision problems. Children should never wear any contact lenses without an eye exam and prescription from an eye care professional. For more info about the risks of decorative lenses, check out this guide from the AAP.

Part of Halloween fun is participating in festive activities and making decorations, as well as watching scary or Halloween-themed movies. Before letting your child engage in an activity or watch a film, assess their appropriateness as it relates to your child’s age. For example, small children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins or light candles. You can have them decorate pumpkins with markers and use glow sticks instead of candles. For films, check the ratings as some movies might be too frightening or violent for children and lead to nightmares.

While most kids enjoy Halloween, some kids, especially toddlers, can feel scared from the spooky stuff. Talk to them about how Halloween is all about pretend, but if they’re still uncomfortable, let them know that it’s ok to not be involved if they don’t wish to. They may also feel differently next year when they’re older!