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December 7, 2002

Other Social Issues

Question from Lebanon, Oregon, USA:

My two and a half year old grandchild was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14 months, and his parents are petrified that I might be a 'carrier' of the flu and could potentially cause his death since I am the main care giver of another grandchild who goes to a preschool. This is preventing me from seeing the grandchild with diabetes because the five 5 year old has had flu a couple of times (lasts from 18 to 24 hours), even though but I have stayed healthy. I would never want to do anything that could cause a problem for the grandchild with diabetes and would like to know if the potential for being a 'carrier' is a serious risk.

Answer:

That is an unrealistic concern. It is virtually impossible to eliminate all risk of catching the true “flu” or influenza. I would suggest getting flu shots both for the child and for any of his care givers and family members to minimize his risk. Then I would see him as often as possible — grandparents are a rich source of support for kids and families of kids with diabetes.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: In addition, the stress of not seeing you could also potentially cause a rise in this child’s blood sugars. Please show this reply to your grandson’s parents, and I hope it works out for everyone’s sake.

SS]