It's cold and flu season and while a simple cold or stomach bug may make you uncomfortable for a few days, it can have life-threatening consequences for children with type one diabetes.
Doctors at Children's Health in Dallas have created a new app called Diabetes Advisor to help children and parents manage diabetes on those sick days.
Common illnesses can unpredictably raise or lower blood sugar levels of diabetes patients. Doctors said in order to fight illness, the body requires more energy than normal. In a person with diabetes, this can lead to high blood sugar levels. Some illnesses cause loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. The poor intake of food can lead to low blood sugar levels in someone taking the usual doses of insulin.
Dr. Soumya Adhikari, pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Health, said patients have to constantly check their blood sugar along with other variables, like ketone levels to help them figure out how much insulin they need.
"We recognize that on a day when a child is sick, everything about diabetes management only gets more complicated and we wanted to build a resource for our families to make those days easier," said Dr. Adhikari.
The app he helped create uses an algorithm that will do the math for the patient using his or her health numbers at a given time during illness.
"It's the same instruction you might receive from our nurses over the phone if you were to call in and say, 'my child is sick, what should we do?,'" he said.
12-year-old Journey Hollowell of Garland is a patient of Dr. Adhikari.
She said she looks forward to using the app to help her manage her type 1 diabetes.
"It was pretty difficult at the beginning because it was so new, but now it's not nearly as hard," she said about her diabetes management.
The app is free and available to download from ITunes, but not in Android stores just yet.
General resources on sick day management inside the app are available to everyone but only Children's Health patients can use the algorithm as of right now.