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January 14, 2003


Question from Fair Oaks, California, USA:

My son wants an electric blanket, and the disclaimer says it is not for people with diabetes. Because it says that we have not purchased one for him, and we as a family will not use one either if he cannot. Is this for older people or for all people with diabetes? What is the reason for this?


The only reason that I can think of for suggesting that people with diabetes should not use an electric blanket is that, if they are poorly controlled at any age, there might be an increased risk of urinary incontinence and thus of an electric shock or burn with any deterioration in the insulation.


[Editor’s comment: Another possibility: Some folks with severe diabetic neuropathy can’t recognize the feeling of heat very well and might burn themselves.

It would appear like these warnings are more applicable to adults with long duration of disease than for kids, but check with your son’s pediatrician or diabetes doc in any case.