School management should keep in mind

Children with diabetes need special care not only from parents but also teachers as kids spend most of the time at school. It is a known fact that obesity and increased intake of junk food are primary risk factors for juvenile diabetes. As per the WHO (World Health Organization), the number of people with diabetes in India has doubled from 32 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2013. Moreover, the statistics are projected to increase to 101.2 million in the next 15 years. Also, new cases of diabetes among younger age groups are rising, especially among children and adolescents. Dr Anoop Misra, Director and Chairman, Fortis C-DOC Hospital and Dr Amrita Ghosh, Associate Consultant Fortis C-DOC Hospital shares few tips on how parents and school staff can handle diabetes in children.
It is an autoimmune condition in which the immune cells attack the pancreas, causing a deficiency of insulin. As the body fails to break down glucose due to lack of insulin, it causes diabetes. Moreover, as fats are used to produce energy, it causes excess production of ketones leading to diabetic ketoacidosis. As type 1 diabetes commonly seen in kids, parents should look for signs of diabetes such as excessive urination, excessive thirst or hunger, weight loss, tiredness, weakness, frequent stomach aches, bedwetting in the case to f younger children, irritability, disinterest in hobbies and crankiness. If you observe any such signs in a kid, do consult a doctor for a blood test. The treatment option for type 1 diabetes is insulin, which can be given through syringes, insulin pens or an insulin pump. However, one of the major complications in type 1 diabetics on insulin is hypoglycemia or low blood glucose, which should be managed immediately to prevent any life-threatening condition.
When it comes to school authorities and teachers, here’s how they can help in managing diabetes in school children.
1. Everyone should bear in the mind that any child with diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes should not be stigmatised but handled sensitively.
2. The parents may share the medical assessment, which should be kept largely confidential by the class teacher, school principal, school medical authority and the sports teacher.
3. The personal information page in the school diary should mention health condition of the child so that the school, especially the class teachers are aware of the child’s health and administer necessary care.
4. The school authorities should allow students with diabetes to check the blood glucose in the class if low blood glucose level is suspected by the child or the teacher.
5. As there are chances of low blood glucose due to diabetes treatment, students should be allowed to carry snacks to prevent low blood glucose during regular classes as well as examinations. Also read about few tips to manage type 1 diabetes in children
6. The school should allow students to carry medical instruments such as insulin pens, glucometer, insulin pump and insulin syringes with special permission and the class teacher should be aware of it.
7. Children below the age of 8 years might require the assistance of teachers or staff to check the blood glucose or administer insulin, which should be provided without any delay.
8. Students should be encouraged to eat a simple snack or drink juice before any physical education training as exercise might lead to low blood glucose.
9. If a kid develops low blood glucose (<70mg/dl) during school hours, a simple form of glucose or a cup of fruit juice must be given to managing the blood glucose levels.
10. If a student falls unconscious and is not able to swallow due to low blood glucose, do not attempt to give anything through the mouth. Instead, call for medical help and inform the parents about the same as the kid might require intravenous administration of glucose to get normal.

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