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Home : 2002 : Apr : 22

    By Donna

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    The first thing you do is DON'T PANIC!! Diabetes is a disease that one can live with. I know. My husband was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 30. We live with it very comfortably. It becomes a part of life - and a crash course with LOTS to learn.

    There are a couple of things you should do. The first is to ensure you have some "fast-acting" sugar in your classroom - juice boxes, pop, chocolates, candies... Anytime you take a field trip away from your school, you should have some with you, as well. Also, let the child know where to locate the "Emergency Supply". Although my husband is a "big boy", I always have a candy of some kind in my pocket, just in case.

    You don't say what grade you teach or how old the child is. The older they are, the more they manage their own disease. They learn to read how they feel, what it means, and what to do about it. Moe often then not, if there is a problem, it is with a sugar low, and they show signs similar to fainting - shaking, sweating, fatigue. If the child's sugar is not well regulated, they can also suffer from mood swings (my husband's description fit my PMS!). Low blood sugar is marked by irritability (very grouchy) while high sugars will result in fatigue. Chronic high blood sugar results in extreme thirst, (and then frequent urination), sight problems (usually far-sightedness), leg/muscle cramps, extreme weight loss, and chronic fatigue. These symptoms all clear with diagnosis and use of insulin.

    If you are nervous, talk to the child's previous teacher, the parents, and ask the child questions. I have had some parents who have even come in and give talks to the children on what may happen and what to do to help the child. They have also answered questions from the children.

    I'll stop now. If you have specific questions, please ask. I can try to answer them for you. I really feel it isn't something to be scared of. People live with it for years when they manage it properly. Best of luck!

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