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Helping Your Diabetic Child Have a Safe Halloween

Counting carbs and swapping treats help kids stick to treatment goals, expert says

FRIDAY, Oct. 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Kids with diabetes don't have to miss out on Halloween fun. There are a number of ways parents can help them celebrate and stick with their treatment, an expert says.

One approach is to trade the candy kids collect while trick-or-treating for a gift, money or low-carbohydrate snack, suggested Dr. Fernando Ovalle, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and senior scientist in the university's Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

"Parents also can provide a substitute snack for their child if a Halloween party at school is an issue," he said in a university news release.

Ovalle said children with diabetes can enjoy Halloween treats in moderation by counting how many carbohydrates they eat and taking extra insulin (for example, one extra unit of insulin for every 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates).

"This is an easy option for kids on an insulin pump because they can just dial in an extra dose of insulin to compensate for what they are about to eat," he said.

"But for kids who take shots, this could prove to be more difficult or inconvenient if they have to go to the school nurse for an extra dose," he noted.

Another option: Save Halloween treats for dessert after dinner. Because kids normally get a dose of insulin at mealtime, this means they won't have to take an extra dose in order to enjoy their candy, he said.

"The most important thing to remember is that parents and children should choose the option that helps diabetic kids enjoy Halloween candy and other holiday treats while sticking to their treatment," Ovalle said.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about children and diabetes.


SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Oct. 28, 2015

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