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estela posted on Thu, Feb 16 2012 12:05 PM

My son is 12 and was diagnosed with T1 5 years ago.  He has very good control of his sugar levels (A1C under 7), athletic, good weight and otherwise healthy.  However, he has been very worried lately because he thinks common colds are caused by the diabetes and that he is more prone to illness due to his condition.  I have tried to explain that as long as he maintains good control of his sugar levels he will be ok but fears persist.  Any suggestions?

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Camilla replied on Thu, Feb 16 2012 5:45 PM

I think just explain to him that colds are caused by viruses, everyone gets them. It is likely that blood sugars go higher during a cold because the body reacts by releasing more glucose for a few days.

It is hard to calm fear in someone once they get something into their heads. You must be so worried about him, our children are so precious. Keep reassuring him, listen to his worries and in time hopefully he will stop being anxious.

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estela replied on Fri, Feb 17 2012 9:43 AM


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Thanks for sharing your son's concerns - others likely have the same worries.

It is very common for all kids to get 7-10 colds or mild illnesses each year!! So, it sounds like your son is experiencing the same rate of mild infections as others. And you are correct, that maintaining good diabetes control and overall healthy behaviors (like eating well, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep) are important aspects of good health and well-being. It is important to note that any cold or mild illness may lead to higher blood sugars and a need for more insulin - so it is important to follow sick day rules. Sick day rules mean checking blood sugars and ketones whenever there is an intercurrent illness or when blood sugars remain above 250 mg/dL for 2 checks in a row. Lastly, your son should recover from the mild illnesses within a few days - if he does not, think about seeing your local doctor in case he has developed a secondary infection that my need antibiotics - this occasionally happens to kids with or without diabetes. Take care and remember good handwashing helps to prevent spread of infections!

Debbie Butler, LICSW, CDE and Lori Laffel, MD, MPH

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