There are 2 types of diabetes (types 1 and 2). We talk
mostly about type 1 diabetes as this is the type which
happens to children and young people. You can’t catch
diabetes, it isn’t a bug, you ‘develop’ it. Type 1 diabetes
happens when the body does not produce enough insulin.
This means that glucose produced in the breakdown of
food (digestion) stays in the blood.
If they are diagnosed, (their GP or a health professional has
confirmed they have it), they may feel overwhelmed, angry,
and worried about the future. They will now need insulin
injections, or insulin using an insulin pump. A diabetes care
team will help and support them, let them know they are
It's perfectly normal to have difficult feelings when they are
diagnosed with diabetes. However, the condition doesn't
have to take away their freedom, or end their usual family
life, it just means they have to carefully manage their
condition as part of daily life.
On diagnosis at the hospital, the specialist diabetes team
will help and support them to manage their diabetes.
Children and young people are cared for by a specialist
diabetes team at the hospital. This team has:
A consultant paediatrician who specialises in diabetes.
Children and young person’s specialist diabetes nurses.
A dietician who is trained in the needs of children and young people.
A psychologist with a speciality in children and young people.
Soon they will be confident enough to take the first steps
towards managing their diabetes. They will be in regular
touch with their diabetes care team. The team keep in
touch via clinics, some of which are in the evening as well
as email and telephone. The specialist nurses can visit
them at home and at school. They can also speak to their
Signs and symptoms
Tell them to contact their GP urgently if they notice the
signs below. If they cannot get an appointment the same
day they need to attend a Walk-In Centre or A&E and
explain their symptoms.
Feeling very thirsty and having a dry mouth.
Going to the toilet frequently, particularly at night.
Feeling very tired and drowsy.
Signs that they could be seriously unwell - all of the above plus vomiting, abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.
Meningitis and Septicaemia
Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood
poisoning) are serious diseases that can affect anyone at
any time. Fortunately, most young people in the UK have
already had the MenC vaccine, but if they haven’t or can’t
remember, getting vaccinated is a good way to protect
themself. But remember, vaccines can’t prevent all forms of
meningitis and septicaemia.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Many of the early signs - vomiting, fever, aches, general
tiredness and headaches - are also signs of less serious
illnesses like colds and flu or even a hangover but someone
with meningitis or septicaemia will become seriously ill in a
matter of hours. Symptoms can appear in any order and
not everyone gets all of the symptoms.
The main signs and symptoms of meningitis include: fever,
very bad headache, vomiting, stiff neck, dislike of bright
lights, rash, confusion, delirium, severe sleepiness, losing
How is meningitis spread?
The bacteria that cause these diseases are spread by
coughing, sneezing and intimate kissing. It can also be
spread by sharing drinks. Outbreaks tend to occur where
people live or work closely together, such as university halls
The glass test
Press the side of a glass firmly against the rash so they can
see if it fades under pressure. If it doesn’t fade call 999 or
go to A&E immediately.
If they are feeling very ill, get help anyway, even if the rash
fades or doesn’t appear at all. It can be harder to see a
rash on darker skin.
Students and young people will be offered a new Meningitis C
vaccine. The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection
into the upper arm and protects against four different causes
of meningitis and septicaemia. If they are going to college or
university for the first time, contact their GP.
As they grow and develop as a young adult new
opportunities and challenges come up every day. But what if
they also have a life long condition, such as asthma, and are
stepping out into the world for the first time on their own?
If they are travelling, staying with friends or moving out
make sure they are prepared.
From friends, family, partner, people at school or college
there will always be certain people that they may feel
awkward or nervous talking to them about their asthma. It’s
their choice about who they choose to tell.
Feelings of stress or anxiety can be a trigger for their
asthma. Study can be stressful especially around exam time.
If they find it brings on their asthma tell them to speak to
their GP/practice nurse and the welfare officer at their
school, college or university to see what they can do to
Everybody with asthma is different, and everybody deals
with asthma differently. For most people, asthma shouldn't
stop them enjoying everything in life, including
Taking medications as directed will help prevent long-term
health problems. Stress to them they should always carry
their relevant inhaler.
Things they may be asked
Have a think about the sorts of things people might ask
them. For example:
What are your asthma symptoms? Everyone has different symptoms. For example, not everyone wheezes when they have an asthma attack.
What are your asthma triggers?
What are your asthma medicines and where do you keep them?
What should I do when you have an asthma attack? You might like to give them an asthma attack card to keep.
What does it feel like to have asthma?
Not everyone relates to hard facts so you could make it personal to you. Then you may find that people understand a lot better.
Do you have an asthma action plan?
If they use an asthma management plan they are four times
less likely to have an attack that requires emergency
hospital treatment. Fill this in with their GP/practice nurse. It
will help them to know what medicine to take and when
and how to recognise when their asthma symptoms
change and what to do when this happens.
Call 0300 222 5800 for independent, confidential advice
from friendly asthma specialists.
Young teenagers, sixth formers and ‘fresher'
students going to university for the first time
are advised to have a vaccination to prevent
meningitis W disease.
Meningitis Research Foundation
080 8800 3344
080 8801 0388
Ask a Nurse Helpline 0300 222 5800
The British Lung Foundation
03000 030 555
Careline 0345 123 2399
Type 2 Together Service
A new volunteerled
approach to providing support, and
learning about living with diabetes.
Black and Ethnic Minority Diabetes
National Children & Young People’s
Children with Diabetes in the UK
020 8661 3904