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August 21, 2002

Other Illnesses

Question from Yorkshire, England:

My four year old daughter, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few weeks ago and is in very good control has a constantly itching back. If you look at it closely, there are small, unevenly shaped, raised white areas under the skin which are about the size of a baby’s fingernail. Throughout her life, she has been prone to swollen glands when she has picked up an infection, but since a bout which lasted for about two months, we battled rapidly rising blood sugars. Her diabetes nurses say she is very unusual but don’t have any answers.I would appreciate your input. Call it mother’s instinct, but I feel we are missing something here.


From: DTeam Staff

As is often the case, I am not in a position to offer diagnostic advice, but I have to say that the pattern that you describe is not unusual. Very young children appear to have constant infections largely because it’s true. Their immune systems are learning by meeting and tacking all the viruses etc that they meet. Swollen glands are usually just a reflection of the tonsils etc. doing their jobs as filters of germs and as such are a sign of normal health. If you think that a cold usually lasts for a couple of weeks from beginning to end and that children are constantly meeting new viruses at nursery etc. then it’s not surprising that they bounce from one thing to the next. When a child has diabetes the impact upon blood sugars draws special attention to the infection.

As regards the itchy back, there are a number of possibilities such as eczema, allergy etc. What you describe could be an urticarial (hives) reaction to something. Obviously you need to discuss all of this with your child’s paediatrician.