The summer holidays are finally here and while this lack of routine is welcomed by most, being out of routine can be challenging for families living with type 1 diabetes.
Staying up late, sleeping in, food temptations, road tripon blood glucose levels.
We asked Liz Broad, Clinical Nurse Consultant at Perth Children’s Hospital’s Diabetes Service, for her top tips for staying on target:
Set realistic expectations. Encouraging structure is important but remember to consider a variability in diet, activity, and weather conditions during the holiday season. It’s okay to take a break, but don’t check out altogether.
Keep monitoring. Changes in routine can impact on blood glucose levels so it is important to keep monitoring. If you are using Continuous Glucose Monitoring, review your child’s trace, look for trends and make adjustments as needed.
Keep active. While organised activities might pause over the break, it is still important to keep active as physical activity is key to managing type 1 diabetes well. When engaging in activity, know where your blood glucose levels are at the start, during and after the activity. Glucose uptake can continue for some time following intense activity and may result in an unexpected and delayed hypoglycaemia later. Consider planning hypo avoidance by using healthy snacks appropriately to fuel activity rather than hypo treatment to manage the event.
Get regular sleep. It’s not unusual to have altered sleeping arrangements over the holidays but this can get progressively more disordered if not addressed. This is why it’s important to set some boundaries around bedtime and sleeping in, particularly for adolescents.
It’s OK to indulge occasionally. Part of healthy eating is enjoying celebrations like Christmas. But it’s important to still encourage a variety of foods and healthier choices. monitor what and how much your child with diabetes is eating to calculate insulin requirements. For more information on Christmas nutrition trips, visit here.
- Ensure you implement a limitation on screen time, especially if children are receiving new devices for Christmas.
- For children who are moving between homes over the holidays, good communication between parents/caregivers is important.
- Consider age-appropriate responsibilities for your child, without over burdening them.
Remember that your pump should not be disconnected for more than two hours at a time — if you disconnect your pump for swimming, return regularly, check blood glucose and bolus as needed.
When heading off to the beach for the day, be prepared. Take plenty of water as the heat can dehydrate children quickly.
Make sure you have your hypo kit packed and consider a medic alert bracelet for improved safety.
Don’t forget to 'slip, slap, slop' using a high-factor sunscreen.
Consider the safety of your equipment on the beach, keep any insulin out of direct sunlight and protect from exposure to temperatures greater than 25C, avoid getting sand in your pump and don’t leave your possessions unattended. Check if your pump is covered by your household insurance against theft or loss.