Diabetic kids can still enjoy Christmas treats if parents take special care

December 11, 2013, Loyola University Health System

Indulgences abound during the holidays—from family gatherings to parties with friends and even stockings stuffed with goodies from Santa. For children with diabetes, overindulging on the delicacies of the season could result in more than a stomachache, it could mean a trip to the emergency room.

"It's extremely important for parents to communicate with their during the to ensure the festivities are fun but also safe," said Himala Kashmiri, DO, pediatric endocrinologist at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "Diabetes doesn't mean your child can't enjoy the foods of the season. It just means you have to be prepared and communicate with your child about how to control blood sugar."

He suggested parents check their child's blood sugar more often during the holidays and, if the numbers seem high, to look for ketones in the urine. Ketone tests are available at your pharmacy. They are simple, but for best results follow instructions carefully.

"How often a parent checks their child's blood sugar can vary, but during the holidays it's especially important to check before every meal and in certain situations before snacks. Checking four to six times per day during the holidays is a good idea, keeping in mind that the frequency might even be higher depending on your child's blood sugar readings," Kashmiri said.

Though parents need to ensure their child is safe, too many restrictions may lead to a child sneaking food, which can become dangerous if the child is not protected with insulin. Being aware of what a child eats allows the parents to respond with appropriate medication.

"There is a misconception that a child with has to avoid sweets. That's not true. Children with diabetes just need insulin to help them process the food. Make sure your children know that they need to tell you if they are eating certain foods so you can give them an appropriate amount of insulin," Kashmiri said. "If you keep the communication lines open and help the child know you are on the same team, a child will be less likely to sneak snacks, which can cause extreme elevations in blood sugar. You'll want to closely monitor blood sugar but also make sure they can have fun."

In addition to checking , look for signs of low or . Signs of include:

  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Pale skin color
  • Weakness
  • Headache

Signs of high include:

  • Drinking a lot of fluids
  • Urinating frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling "not right"
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting

If your child is unable to hold down fluids and food, make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible. If high urine ketones are present, your child may need to increase the frequency of insulin,  drink more fluids, and/or go to the if the urine ketones level does not improve.

"During the holidays parents should keep a closer eye on what is happening with their child's diabetes, but it's also important that the child be able to experience all the joys of the holidays," Kashmiri said.

Explore further: First pediatric-focused diabetes calculator

Related Stories

First pediatric-focused diabetes calculator

June 12, 2013
Nationwide Children's Hospital recently developed an online resource to help parents manage their child's diabetes more effectively and care for their health at home. The "Diabetes Calculator for Kids," a first of its kind ...

A deadly form of diabetes that doctors sometimes miss

June 19, 2013
(HealthDay)—Addie Parker was a happy 4-year-old who appeared to have the flu. But within hours she was in a coma.

Large European study suggests men with type 1 diabetes are better at blood sugar control than women

September 23, 2013
Men with type 1 diabetes appear to be better at blood sugar control than women, but there is no significant difference in blood sugar control between boys and girls. These are the findings of new research presented at this ...

Use of spanking exacerbates aggressive child behavior

December 10, 2013
A mother's affection after she spanks her child does little to diminish the negative impact of the act, a new University of Michigan study finds.

Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?

October 31, 2013
While popular media often depicts highly-involved parents negatively as "helicopter parents" or "tiger moms, how does placing one's children at the center of family life really affect parental well-being? New research published ...

Recommended for you

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

January 17, 2018
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating ...

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues

January 16, 2018
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to new research led by the ...

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

Big strides made in diabetes care

January 5, 2018
(HealthDay)—This past year was a busy, productive one for diabetes research and care.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.