When your child is first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, you will be bombarded with information such as which supplies you will need in order to treat the disease. Keeping which supplies you need, and how much you need, can be overwhelming. The good news, though, is that caring for a diabetic child gets easier over time. Make sure to keep enough of these supplies on hand, and keep in close touch with your child's physician and nurses. They will help you stay stocked up on everything you will need in order to stay on top of this chronic, yet manageable, disease. If you are just beginning your journey with Type 1 Diabetes, here is a starting list of supplies you will need.
Insulin - Novolog, Humalog, Lantus, and Others
Insulin is the hormone that allows sugar access to the body's cells. The body relies on this sugar for energy. When someone becomes a Type 1 diabetic, their body loses the ability to produce insulin, and they need insulin to be injected into their body. Many diabetic require two different types of insulin. One type, a fast acting type, is taken with meals. The other type is taken once a day, lasts 24 hours, and allows a small amount of insulin to always be present in the body.
Of course, the insulin needs a way into the body, and this is done with a syringe. Your child's medical team will help you learn how to dispense the insulin into the body. There are various types of insulin syringes, so experiment with a few to see which works best for your child.
What About Insulin Pumps?
Some diabetics use an insulin pump instead of syringes. Each individual and family is different, and the best decision between syringes and a pump depends on a variety of factors. Again, consult with your doctor to determine what is best.
A person with Type 1 Diabetes must be aware of their blood sugar throughout the day. This is done with the help of test strips. Most diabetics check their blood sugar levels many times during the day, so you will fly through these rather quickly. Make sure you always have enough on hand.
Of course, you need something to put the test strips in. This is done with a glucose monitor. You place a test strip in the slot, poke a finger to draw a droplet of blood, place the blood on the test strips, and after a few seconds, the blood sugar reading will appear on the monitor. Different types of monitors and test strips are available and each have their own features. You can usually get glucose monitors for free from a doctor's office or the company that produces them.
Lancing Device and Lancets
But how to poke the finger to get the drop of blood? This is done with a lancing device and lancets. You place a lancet in the lancing device and press against a finger. With the push of a button you can produce a small drop of blood that then needs to be placed on a testing strip. Like with the other diabetes supplies on here, there are different types and brands of lancing devices available.
Something that sounds strange at first is that one of the biggest immediate dangers to a diabetic is dangerously low blood sugar. The body of someone with Type 1 Diabetes has a decreased ability to raise blood sugars that get too low. And since a diabetic's blood sugar is being regulated by external sources of insulin, it can be easy to accidentally get the blood sugar too low. That is where Glucagon comes in play. It is only to be used in emergencies, and should always be kept nearby. If a diabetic has a dangerously low blood sugar, Glucagon can be administered.
Tips to Keeping Costs Low
Most insurance plans cover diabetic supplies, keeping the cost down. A coversation with your endocrine nurses and doctors can help you get the most bang for your buck.
In addition, there is a high likelyhood that you know someone with Type 2 Diabetes. Many times, these individuals are given supplies that they do not use. If they have no use for them, check to see if they will give them to you. My grandmother is always being sent new lancets that she never uses, so she gives them to us and helps us save a few bucks a month.
Stay on Top of Your Supplies
The biggest trouble you might have is being low on supplies before you realize that. Make sure you know how to get in touch with the doctor's office and pharmacy if this case arises. It sounds like a lot to get your head around at first, but after a while, caring for Type 1 Diabetes and knowing your supplies will become much easier.