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January 30, 2010

Other Illnesses

Question from Houston, Texas, USA:

My 15-year-old son is always getting upper respiratory infections and has to go on an antibiotic about every one to two months. He starts out with sniffles or a sore throat and it inevitably turns into an infection, at which point we begin an antibiotic. We try over-the-counter medications, decongestants, antihistamines, cough stuff, etc., to get rid of the symptoms before an infection develops but it doesn't work. We all have very good hand washing habits. I try to keep him away from people we know are sick. Is this common for kids with type 1? His doctor says it has nothing to do with his diabetes but I'm wondering if maybe his immune response isn't as strong as someone who doesn't have diabetes. I am also concerned about so many antibiotics. His tonsils are not affected and he does not get strep. A friend whose child, now 18, also is type 1 and seems to have the same issue.

Answer:

More frequent upper respiratory infections are not a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Your pediatrician will be your best resource to sort out whether there might be any factors contributing to his frequent illnesses.

MSB