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Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child


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Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.   Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child

Your child needs to know when his or her blood sugar level is outside the target range. Fortunately, your child's blood sugar level can be checked anywhere and anytime by using a home blood sugar (glucose) meter. Blood sugar meters give results quickly.

Knowing your child's blood sugar level helps you treat low or high blood sugar before it becomes an emergency. It also helps you know how exercise and food affect your child's blood sugar and how much short-acting insulin to give (if your child takes insulin).

Three keys to success in monitoring your child's blood sugar are:

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  What is home blood sugar monitoring?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Why should blood sugar be monitored?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  How is blood sugar monitored?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Where to go from here

What? - What is the medical information or key concepts related to the action?  What is home blood sugar monitoring?

Home blood sugar monitoring is checking your child's blood sugar level using a home blood sugar meter. This is often referred to as self-testing. Children's blood sugar may need testing more often when they are first diagnosed with diabetes, when diabetes medicines are changed, when your child is starting a new sport, or when your child is sick. Children who take insulin may need to check blood sugar levels several times a day. If your child does not take insulin and his or her blood sugar levels are within a target range, he or she may need to test only before breakfast each day and sometimes at other times of the day.

To test your child's blood sugar level, prick the side of a finger with a small needle (lancet) to collect a drop of blood. Some blood sugar meters allow other sites on the body to be used for the drop of blood, such as the forearm, leg, or hand. Follow the instructions to prepare the test strip and meter to receive the blood sample. The meter shows the results of the test.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Home blood sugar monitoring involves:

    1. Testing the amount of sugar in a sample of blood drawn from a blood vein.

      This answer is incorrect.

      Home blood sugar monitoring does not involve testing the amount of sugar in a sample of blood drawn from a blood vein. It involves using a drop of blood from a finger (or other site) to check the blood sugar level.

    2. Testing the amount of sugar in a drop of blood from a finger (or other site).

      This answer is correct.

      Home blood sugar monitoring does involve testing the amount of sugar in a drop of blood from a finger (or other site).


Why? - Why the action is important?  Why should blood sugar be monitored?

Testing your child's blood sugar at home will help you know:

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Home blood sugar monitoring helps you know how exercise has affected your child's blood sugar.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Home blood sugar monitoring does help you know how exercise has affected your child's blood sugar. Checking your child's blood sugar after exercise will help you know whether blood sugar levels are staying within a target range.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Home blood sugar monitoring does help you know how exercise has affected your child's blood sugar. Checking your child's blood sugar after exercise will help you know whether blood sugar levels are staying within a target range.


How? - Learn the steps involved in taking action.  How is blood sugar monitored?

Here is a simple way to get started monitoring your child's blood sugar at home. Use these same steps to help your child learn this task.

Get organized

Before you start testing your child's blood sugar:

Do the test

When you test your child's blood sugar, you will know more about how well his or her treatment is keeping blood sugar within a target range.

Follow these steps when you test your child's blood sugar:

  1. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water, and dry them well with a clean towel. Have your child wash and dry his or her hands, also.
  2. Put a clean needle (lancet) in the pen-sized lancet device. It holds and positions the lancet and controls how deeply the lancet goes into the skin.
  3. Take a test strip from the bottle. Put the lid back on the bottle immediately to prevent moisture from affecting the other strips.
  4. Prepare the blood sugar meter. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific meter.
  5. Use the lancet device to stick the side of your child's fingertip with the lancet. Some devices and blood sugar meters allow blood testing on other parts of the body, such as the forearm, leg, or hand. Be sure you know where your device can be used.
  6. Put a drop of blood on the correct spot on the test strip, covering the test area well.
  7. Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure to the place where you stuck your child's finger (or other site). This will stop the bleeding.
  8. Wait for the results. Most meters take only a few seconds to give you the results.

Record the results

Recording your child's blood sugar results is very important. The doctor will use your child's record to see how often blood sugar levels have been in a target range and to determine if your child's insulin dose or other diabetes medicine needs to be adjusted. This information lets you and your doctor know how your child's medicine, food, and activity are affecting your child's blood sugar. Be sure to take your child's record with you on each visit to the doctor or diabetes educator.

To record your child's results, you can:

Preventing sore fingers

The more often your child's blood sugar is tested, the more likely it is your child will have sore fingertips. Here are some suggestions to help reduce this pain.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. To test your child's blood sugar, you need to put a drop of blood on the special test strip used with the home blood sugar meter.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      To test your child's blood sugar at home, you need to put a drop of blood on a special test strip inserted in the meter. The meter will provide the results.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      To test your child's blood sugar at home, you do need to put a drop of blood on a special test strip inserted in the meter. The meter will provide the results.


Where? - Other resources and organizations that can help you take action.  Where to go from here

Now that you have read this information, you are ready to start monitoring your child's blood sugar levels at home.

Talk with your child's doctor

If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your child's doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.

If you haven't talked with the doctor about when and how often to test your child's blood sugar, do so during your next visit. Use a blood sugar testing times form to record the times you need to check your child's blood sugar each day and when he or she is ill.

Organization

American Diabetes Association (ADA)
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA  22311
Phone: 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)
Email: AskADA@diabetes.org
Web Address: www.diabetes.org
 

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a national organization for health professionals and consumers. Almost every state has a local office. ADA sets the standards for the care of people with diabetes. Its focus is on research for the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. ADA provides patient and professional education mainly through its publications, which include the monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast, books, brochures, cookbooks and meal planning guides, and pamphlets. ADA also provides information for parents about caring for a child with diabetes.


To learn more, see:

Credits for Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised August 12, 2013

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