Hypoglycemia is a condition that develops when blood sugar levels are extremely low. Extremely low blood sugar is described as below 70 mg/dl. Typical or normal blood glucose stays between about 100 and 140 mg/dl. If a low blood sugar level is detected, then testing will be completed to determine if diabetes is a concern. Something called a glycated hemoglobin test will be performed that checks average blood sugar levels over the last several months. The test measures the amount of sugar that is attached to the hemoglobin in the blood. If there is very little attached sugar, then chronic hypoglycemia and type 1 diabetes may be detected.
Can Children Become Hypoglycemic?
Hypoglycemia is a common complication of diabetes. If your child has type 1 diabetes, then hypoglycemic episodes should be a concern of yours. If blood sugar levels become too low, then the brain may be deprived of glucose. Glucose is the sugar that provides the brain with energy, and a serious reduction can lead to poor brain function, seizures, brain damage, and even a coma.
Research suggests that children with diabetes should have blood sugar levels kept at an A1C level at or below 7.5 percent. Previous recommendations were much higher at about 8 or 8.5 percent. The lower levels help to prevent hypoglycemia. Long term hypoglycemia can be more dangerous than an acute hypoglycemic episode, so blood sugar levels should be kept relatively low, but not low enough to be considered hypoglycemic.
While blood sugar levels can be controlled with medicine and a proper diet, there are certain circumstances that can lead to hypoglycemia. If your child exercises a great deal and does not eat a snack, then this can cause the blood sugar to drop. Also, taking too much insulin can result in low blood sugar and so can meal skipping. While most hypoglycemic situations can be avoided, this may not be possible if your child has the flu and cannot eat normally.
Can You Prevent Hypoglycemia With The Flu?
If your child comes down with a flu virus, then hypoglycemia is a complication that you should watch out for. Thankfully, you can prevent a low blood sugar episode. Make sure to check your child’s blood sugar about once every three to four hours. Children are often able to communicate their symptoms when blood sugar levels drop. However, the symptoms are similar to ones felt after contracting a flu virus. Fatigue, chills, nausea, sweating, and irritability are just a few examples or possible flu and a hypoglycemia symptoms.
To keep blood sugar levels up, try to feed your child small amounts of bland foods that will not irritate the stomach. Toast, crackers, frozen yogurt, soup, rice, and plain spaghetti noodles are good choices. Also, provide your child with plenty of fluids. Water, tea, and sugar free ginger ale can be given freely. If sugar levels start to drop, then start giving your son or daughter grape juice, sports drinks, or a small cup of a drink formulated to fight dehydration, like Pedialyte. Glucose tablets are also helpful in situations where your child is unable to keep food and drinks down.