November is American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month

American Medical ID is a proud partner of the American Diabetes Association and supports the effort of American Diabetes Month to raise awareness of diabetes as a growing concern in the world.

American Diabetes Month 2013

Nov1_DiabetesOne of the American Diabetes Association’s primary objectives is to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes, its consequences, management and prevention of type 2 diabetes. American Diabetes Month is an important element in this effort, with programs designed to focus the nation’s attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the people impacted by the disease. In 2012, the Association launched a socially focused initiative for American Diabetes Month called A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on our families and communities across the country.  In 2013, the American Diabetes Association will continue to grow the campaign with a host of online and offline program elements.

Theme: A Day in the Life of Diabetes

Diabetes doesn’t stop.  It is 24/7, 365 days a year.  To showcase the extraordinary effort it takes to live a day with the disease, the American Diabetes Association will continue to ask people to submit a personal image to the Association’s Facebook mosaic representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them. The image can be a picture of themselves or someone they care about, or otherwise represent how the disease impacts their lives. The image will then make up a larger mosaic image that will embody the message of A Day in the Life of Diabetes.

About Diabetes

Prevalence

  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to stop diabetes.

The Toll on Health

  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

The Cost of Diabetes

  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion. Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than  those without the disease.  Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • One in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
  • One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.

Wear Your Medical ID

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times. Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.

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Celebrating Halloween Without Seizures

As Halloween approaches, kids of all ages are busy feverishly selecting their latest Halloween costume, day dreaming about the endless supply of sugary goodness that awaits them, and deciding on how they are going to carve their pumpkin. And while the spirit of Halloween is in the air so too is the concern of parents of children with epilepsy on how best to keep their child safe while trick-or-treating as well as how to reduce the likelihood of seizures.

Re-posted from Epilepsy.com by Jenna Martin.  Click here for the full article.

Photosensitivity Epilepsy & Halloween Safety

Oct29_EpilepsyCindee Boller’s youngest daughter Megan, age 12, has photosensitive epilepsy which is triggered by visual stimuli. “Since her diagnosis several years ago we’ve been able to redirect Megan away from places where there are strobe lights such as haunted houses without really calling attention to it,” said Boller. “Our goal is to make sure she has fun on Halloween without feeling self-conscious about her epilepsy or fearful that she might have a seizure around her friends.” Boller admits that this Halloween may prove to be more difficult. “Megan is at the age where she wants to be more independent, which is completely healthy and normal. But, because she has epilepsy which can be triggered by any of a number of stimuli either my husband or I have to be there with her while she is trick-or-treating even if we follow the teenage rule of walking eighty paces behind.”

Megan’s Halloween spirit seems no less hampered by her avoidance of haunted houses or other flashing lights. With her close friends by her side and their awareness of her seizures and potential seizure triggers she feels more confident in her ability to trick-or-treat just like any other kid her age. “If there is a strobe light at one of the houses in our neighborhood my friends will understand that I can’t go to that house to trick-or-treat and we will go to the next house. It’s really not a big deal,” said Megan.

It’s All About the Candy, But What About Dietary Restrictions?

Children with epilepsy on the ketogenic diet or Modified Atkins diet have special dietary restrictions according to Dr. Eric Kossoff, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.  Both diets significantly restrict carbohydrates, and chocolate bars and other candy given out at Halloween are about as pure carbohydrates as you can buy.  The temptations of cheating can seem almost insurmountable to some parents and trick or treating might be completely avoided.

Kossoff knows all too well the challenges parents of children on these diets face during Halloween. “Many ketogenic diet centers will have special Halloween parties at the hospital or an outside location as it can be difficult for children. Also, many of our families at Johns Hopkins on both diets will make their own treats (keto-friendly) at home.” He also encourages parents to have non-food items as treats available at home such as games, toys, and money, thus taking food out of the fun factor equation.  “It’s always nice to start new Halloween family traditions, such as dressing up, watching scary movies as a family, and going to farms for pumpkin picking and hay rides.  Eating doesn’t have to be part of any of those activities.”

As a mother of a son on the Modified Atkins diet, Susan Littlefield has first-hand experience with using non-food items as treats on Halloween. “Our son actually goes trick-or-treating for candy and then we buy his candy from him and reward him with a new game that he wants. We also have a Halloween party each year which I think our son likes a whole lot more than candy, but every child is different.”

However parents of children with epilepsy on special diets choose to help celebrate Halloween, both Kossoff and Littlefield agree that candy is a big No-No.

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips for Parents/Caregivers of Children with Epilepsy

  1. Make sure your child doesn’t forget medications that evening.
  2. Watch out for strobe lights if that’s a trigger for your child.
  3. Make sure your child either has a teenage “buddy” with them or you go with them – if a child has a seizure around other children trick-or-treating, they might be ignored with all the chaos and noise of the evening.
  4. Don’t stay out significantly later than your child’s bedtime.
  5. Make sure your teenager has a cell phone with them and someone is home to pick them up if they are trick-or-treating a distance that would be prohibitive to walk back.
  6. If your child is on the ketogenic or Atkins diet, it’s ok to get candy and dress up, but NOT to eat the candy without explicit permission.
  7. Make sure your child or teen wears their medical alert bracelet while trick-or-treating if they have one.
  8. Make sure your child is accompanied by someone who knows about your child’s seizures and what to do in case of a seizure emergency.

How American Medical ID Can Help

If you have epilepsy, you should be wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times – and it is especially important when you are traveling or just away from your home for a few hours. Medical personnel need to be immediately alerted to your condition so they can treat you as quickly and effectively as possible during an emergency. At a party or an event, you never know when you might be separated from family or friends who understand your condition, which makes a medical ID essential.  American Medical ID recommends engraving your epilepsy alert bracelet like this:

  • FIRST AND LAST NAME
  • EPILEPSY OR OTHER MEDICAL CONDITION
  • MEDICATIONS AND ALLERGIES
  • IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER
  • DR. TELEPHONE NUMBER

 

Do You Know About MyIHR?

MyIHR or My Interactive Health Record. It solves a lot of problems when it comes to having your medical information available in an emergency. It’s secure and best of all, there are no recurring fees!

Here’s a comment from an actual MyIHR user:

“About one month after receiving my medical ID bracelet charm, and inputting my information into the MyIHR portal, I suffered a bad fall at home. My spouse was out of the country working, and I was alone.

I was able to call 911 for transport to a local emergency room. The ambulance attendants were “thrilled” when they saw all of my medications and they deemed my case could be very complicated.  I was able to tell them to not worry about gathering them all up, to just look up MyIHR on their computer in the ambulance.

With the username and password on the charm (it’s very tiny engraving!), they were able to input all the information into their system and advised me that mine was the first case ever that they had seen such a great way for those of us with fragile health to receive appropriate care without subjecting us to possibly dangerous medications.

My record is now in their system, should an ambulance ever be dispatched to my home in the future. At the hospital, the ER team was very happy to be given the same computer access and updated my file easily, and completely. I can’t stress enough that this works, and works well, especially for people with multiple health conditions or multiple medications.

Thanks for the MyIHR service!” – Randy

Making Halloween Enjoyable for Children with Autism

Medical ID.  American Medical ID features an array of medical alert jewelry for children and adults.

Your Tips for a Safe, Comfortable and Enjoyable Halloween

Trick-or-Treating:

Make a deal with neighbors to have their kids come for a ‘dress rehearsal’ day before. Your child can first practice answering the door and handing out candy to kids. Then switch and practice knocking and saying “trick or treat!”

The first two years of Halloween we just let our son dress up and walk up and down the street watching the other kids and looking at the decorations. Come our third Halloween, he went to knock on doors by himself and yelled “trick or treat” like a pro.

Be flexible, no expectations! Your child may be content stopping at five or six houses. Have quiet back up activities ready.

Be aware of which areas have displays with lots of gore and special effects so you can avoid them.

Discuss with the child safety tips for crossing the street, such as remembering to look both ways before crossing. The child may be over-stimulated from the change in schedule, so priming may be necessary.

Flashlights are a must.  My son carried one to help him see in the dark. It offered comfort and gave him a means of some control.

What helped my son most was watching children trick or treating on Youtube (Make sure you preview the video before your child sees it).

We always put plenty of glow sticks on my son in case we get separated at some of the more popular houses. You can purchase them at Wal-Mart in different shapes and colors. They make him feel more secure in the dark, too!

If your child is nonverbal, or not very verbal, make sure he or she wears some kind of identifying bracelet – it can even be part of the costume if done cleverly.

We practice trick-or-treating at our own house. Then he knows what to expect on Halloween night.

Take a route familiar to your child. Avoid homes decorated with flashing lights and loud sounds that may trigger sensory reactions. Review the day’s events when winding down. Discuss any fears about something seen or heard. Reassure him of your love and protection.

It’s a good idea to get a buddy that will make sure your child knows where he or she is going.

 

Collecting and Handing Out Candyhalloween-candy-in-bowl-590

Plan now for how you will handle candy consumption. A gluten or dairy intolerance may not be an issue with Halloween treats, but food dyes and sugar may wreak havoc with any child. Decide the candy-eating rules in advance and write them down.

After Halloween, watch the doors extra closely. My son escaped for the first time on November 1 along with his plastic pumpkin bucket from the night before.  A neighbor alerted us that he was going from house to house on his own.

When no longer appropriate to trick or treat, my son was given the honor of giving out treats to kids who came to our door. To “sweeten” the deal, each time someone came to our house he could add a piece of candy to a bowl reserved for him.

Trick or treating is too hard for my son, so I have him answer the doorbell instead when trick or treaters come.  I have taught him to open the door, take candy out of the bowl and put one in each bag, say goodbye and close the door.

 

Costumes

In lieu of a costume, try a Halloween T-shirt. There are screen-printed ones that look like Dracula’s tuxedo, complete with a jeweled medallion. There are also big orange T-shirts with a jack-o-lantern faces.

Pick a costume that may require a little face paint and is not too big or uncomfortable. Try to use a child’s own clothing. Definitely no masks or hats that might be distracting, irritating or uncomfortable to their senses.

I’m an adult who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Something I did as a kid was make sure I knew what costume I was going to wear at least four days in advance and try it on a few times. It’s also good to have a buddy that will make sure your child knows where he or she is going.

 

Themed Events

My 20-year-old son is too old for trick-or-treating and not social enough for parties. But, he is a HUGE train fanatic and is looking forward to a “Train of Terror” in our hometown. Check your community for similar events.

We had a daytime party with a bouncy house and everyone dressed up in Halloween costumes. This was safe for all the kids and not too scary for our daughter. We felt good about her not missing this fun childhood tradition.

Peanut and Tree-Nut Free Candy List

With Halloween just over a week away, it’s important for parents of children with peanut and other tree-nut allergies to know which candies are safe for their children to eat.   Here’s a list compiled by the Medical ID.  American Medical ID features an array of medical alert jewelry for children with styles to fit all personalities.

Peanut and Tree-Nut Free Candy

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♦ DIVVIES (anything made by Divvies) – www.divvies.com
♦ Haribo Gummi Candies (anything made by Haribo)
♦ Surf Sweets Natural gummies & jelly beans – www.surfsweets.com
♦ Vermont Nut Free Chocolates
♦ Skittles
♦ Peeps
♦ Swedish Fish
♦ Altoids Mints, Original & Cinnamon (not Chocolate variety)
♦ Mike and Ikes
♦ Hershey (plain) chocolate bars, personal size only (not King size, not Minis) 
♦ Hershey (plain) chocolate Kisses (not King Size, not Holiday/Seasonal Bags)
♦ Wonka’s Nerds & Nerds Rope
♦ Laffy Taffy
♦ Runts
♦ Dubble Bubble gum
♦ Tootsie Pops & Tootsie Rolls (anything made by Tootsie) Tootsie-rolls-4256
♦ Junior Mints
♦ Lifesaver Gummies
♦ Smarties
♦ Sour Patch Kids – all varieties
♦ Whoppers
♦ Sweet Tarts
♦ Dum Dum lollipops
♦ Bottle Caps
♦ Pop Rocks
♦ Now and Laters
♦ Zours
♦ Hot Tamales
♦ Red Vines
♦ Jolly Rancher hard candy, lollipops and gummi candy
♦ York Peppermint Patties
♦ Twizzlers
♦ Rolos
♦ Starburst fruit chew, lollipops and jelly beans
♦ Kraft Marshmallows
♦ Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Chips, Trader Joe’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Chipslicorice

Peanut and Tree Nut Free Ice Creams & Baked Goods

♦ Sweet Alexis Cookies & Breads
♦ Haagen Dazs Ice Creams – which do not contain nuts as ingredient
♦ Dreyer’s Ice Creams – which do not contain nuts as ingredient
♦ Strauss Family Creamery Ice Creams
♦ Safeway ICEE frozen fruit pops
♦ Cake mixes and frostings from Pillsbury, but check labels: some contain nuts but are manufactured separately.

Please consult your physician if you have concerns about how these products may relate to you or your family member’s specific condition.

List courtesy of Bay Area Allergy Advisory BoardFor the full article, click here.

Nut-Free Halloween: Tips & Treats to Keep Allergic Children Safe

This is a re-post of an article on Veria Living, written by Katie Ginder-Vogel.  The complete article can be found here.

Halloween can be very frightening for children with food allergies and their parents.  With a little planning, Halloween can be both fun and safe.  Be sure your child is also wearing a medical ID.  Here’s to a very Happy Halloween to all!

Nut-Free Halloween: Tips & Treats to Keep Allergic Children Safe

momkidspumpkincarvingHalloween can seem like a minefield to families of children with severe nut allergies. An estimated 2.1 percent of children in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts (peanuts are a legume, unlike a tree nut). In some cases, children have severe anaphylactic reactions to the initial exposure and experience a second reaction several hours later—a terrifying ordeal for them and their parents.

With so many items – especially Halloween candy – made in facilities that process nuts, it can be problematic to take a child trick-or-treating. Not to mention the anxiety of trying to keep that child safe at school, at Halloween parties and anywhere else he might be.

“The biggest risks on Halloween are exposure and reaction,” says Jennifer Lucas, whose nine-year-old son is severely allergic to peanuts. “There’s a lot of unsafe candy; it’s dark; it’s a fun night, and it could be easy to get carried away and not thoroughly check for safety.”

For parents of children with allergies, the key to managing Halloween is to take precautionary measures. Lucas’ son usually wears a costume with gloves to protect him from a contact reaction during trick-or-treating.

“We have a strict no eating policy while we are out collecting,” says Lucas. “When he was younger, and there was less ‘safe’ candy available, we still went trick or treating, but when we came home, I had a fun “exchange” bag of safe candy that I bought from Canada or other places online. His entire bag went immediately into his dad’s work bag, and my husband got it out of the house the next morning. Now, we dump, sort, and toss anything I’m not 100% sure about.”

Lucas cautions that the smaller “fun size” candy isn’t always individually labeled, and some companies make all of Halloween-size products – with and without nuts – on the same line, just for the giant Halloween bags.

“This can be scary and confusing,” says Lucas. “For example, individual normal-size Hershey bars are safe, but they make their small ones on the same line as tree nuts. You just have to be hyper-vigilant on Halloween.”

As with most things, awareness and education are the keys to increasing safety, and when the community gets involved to help families, everyone benefits.

“It’s a huge night,” says Lucas. “It’s a pinnacle of childhood fun, and we don’t want to squash that in any way, but it’s a very difficult night for parents of a severely allergic child. We’re grateful for any awareness and compassion.”

Community members can help by offering nut-free candy that hasn’t been processed anywhere near nuts. Or, better yet, offer alternative treats, like small toys that kids can play with as they’re out trick-or-treating.

“I would recommend homes have a non-nut or non-chocolate option available or purchase bags that have clear labels on individual pieces, so there isn’t any second guessing for parents and older kids who can read labels,” says Lucas. “A non-food option could be anything, from temporary tattoos or pencils to stickers or glow sticks.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Ginder-Vogel is a freelance writer and editor based in Madison, WI. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English from Stanford University. An avid runner, hiker, and swimmer, Katie writes regularly about health and wellness. She has two children and a dog, who keep her company on the trail, on the road, and in the pool.

 

 

 

12 Halloween Tips for Parents of Children with Food Allergies

This article is re-posted from www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.  For the complete article, click Medical ID.  American Medical ID features an array of medical alert jewelry for children with styles to fit all personalities.

How to take the tricks out of treats when your child has food allergies 

pumpkinsHalloween can be a tricky time for a growing number of children who have food allergies. Today, one in 12 children, or six to eight million kids, are affected by allergies to foods such as milk, peanuts and tree nuts, ingredients commonly found in candy. Often the most life-threatening, peanut allergy, for example, has doubled in the last five years.

“Children with food allergies can enjoy Halloween just as much as other kids but it takes planning and vigilance,” notes Lynda Mitchell, president of Kids With Food Allergies. “When my son was a toddler, he had a severe reaction on Halloween because I unknowingly allowed him to carry a treat that included ingredients he was allergic to, not realizing that he would try to bite right through the paper wrapper while we were walking. I learned firsthand the importance of preparing in advance – such as supplying neighbors with safe candy for my son – and closely watching him as he trick-or-treated.”

As the number of food-allergic children continues to rise, more and more parents are challenged with keeping their kids and neighbor children safe this Halloween.

 How you can make Halloween safer for allergic children:

  • Purchase a variety of candy, including some that do not include any milk, soy, peanuts or tree nuts.  Read labels carefully as some ingredients may be hidden.
  • Let children pick out the candy that’s suited for them.
  • Consider having non-food items on hand, including stickers, fun pencils, small toys or even coins for the child’s piggy bank.
Tips for parents of food allergic children:
  • Plan an alternate activity, such as going to the movies, hosting a slumber party, or having a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood for safe treats or other items.

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  • When trick-or-treating, carry your child’s emergency medicines.
  • Let the kids dress up and run house to house, while you carry a safe snack in case they want one. Bring wipes to clean the little hands first! [Idea courtesy of Jason]
  • Give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your food allergic child.
  • Prepare a container filled with safe treats in advance, and then swap it for the treats collected.
  • Try a variation of the Tooth Fairy: Sort through unsafe candy, then leave it in a safe spot for a “Sugar Sprite” or “Candy Fairy” who exchanges it for a small gift, toy, or money. [Idea courtesy of Rachel]
  • Trade unsafe candy for allergen-safe treats or age-appropriate non-food items once your children return home. Non-food ideas include coloring books, storybooks, pencils, stickers, stuffed animals, toys, cash and play dough.
  • If permissible, donate leftover candy to children who may not be able to go out and trick or treat. [Idea courtesy of Rhonda]
  • Check all ingredients. Remember that treat-size candy may have different ingredients or may be made on different machinery than the same regular-size candy.

New Kids Medical ID Bracelet Line by American Medical ID!

Check out our new Kids & Teens line of medical ID bracelets and necklaces!

Click here to start browsing: Kids and Teens Medical IDs

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Why are medical IDs critical?

Perhaps your doctor, nurse or pharmacist advised you to obtain a medical ID for your child. Why is it important?

  • In an emergency, when you might not be able to speak for your child, a kid’s medical ID bracelet or necklace can speak for them.
  • Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed. Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your child’s medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
  • According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital.Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
  • More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If your child is wearing a medical ID, it won`t be missed.
  • Medical IDs can eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives! One day, a medical ID may save your child.

Hot Weather and Your Diabetes

heat_1During the heat of the summer, it is important to consider that the ambient temperature will affect your diabetes management.

  • Heat can affect your blood glucose (sugar) levels and also increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you will need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your intake of insulin, food and liquids.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Drink a glass of (sugarfree) fluids before going outdoors and at least ever half hour when outdoors in temperature above 80 degrees F.  If your doctor has limited how much liquid you can drink, ask what to do during times of high heat.
  • Check package inserts with medications to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you’re away from home, and protect them from the heat.
  • Remember not to leave your blood glucose meter, insulin, or other injectable medications,  in direct sunlight or in a hot car. When travelling, keep your medications in a cooler but do not place it directly on ice or on a gel pack.
  • Heat can damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Do not leave the disconnected pump or supplies in the direct sun. Perspiration can affect the sticking quality of your patches.
  • Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, or exercise outside early or late in the day, during cooler temperatures.
  • Beware of the major changes in humidity and temperature when travelling and then exiting a car.
  • Always wear your medical ID! Always!

Boot could save millions of diabetic people from foot amputations

NEWS from the UK, segment published on The Bucks Herald:

2220925531People with diabetes are particularly at risk of having foot amputations because bad circulation and foot ulcers can mean their feet are unable to pump blood back up their legs.

The Pulseboot works by replicating this pumping mechanism, allowing the foot to heal and preventing the need for amputation.

Pulseboot chief executive Les Lindsay said: “Each year over 6,000 people in the UK alone lose their limbs due to the complications caused by diabetes.

“Around the world, one amputation due to diabetes happens every 20 seconds.

“We’ve built this shoe to help stop this happening to those British diabetics and many thousands more around the world.”

The technology has been designed in Smeaton Close and developed around the country with the help of people from all over the world.

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It has attracted significant interest from other countries, including America, and its creators think it will have an ‘astronomical’ impact on the treatment of diabetics.

Aylesbury MP David Lidington visited Pulseboot’s base last week to view the technology and to discuss how it can be made widely available.

Mr Lidington said: “Diabetes is growing problem for many countries around the world.

“I’m pleased to see that one of our companies in Aylesbury is going to help so many people avoid one of the more devastating effects of this disease.”

The design was first conceived around five years ago and clinical trials on the prototype will begin this month.

On average, 115 diabetes-related amputations take place every week in England and a recent NHS report put the annual costs of diabetic amputations at £120 million.