Cinfa’s “To school with health” training action has just completed its third cycle of talks. In the months of April and May, experts from the laboratory and from ANADI (Navarra Diabetes Association) have gone to five educational centers in the Foral Community to promote knowledge of diabetes among the school population and promote keys to its prevention.

This series of talks is added to the two held last year, so that a total of 1,300 Navarrese schoolchildren between 10 and 12 years old have delved into the types of diabetes, its symptoms and treatment, what day-to-day life is like. day of a person with this pathology and the recommendations for managing it, as well as the guidelines for action in risk situations.

The training sessions have been taught by Julio Maset, doctor from the Navarrese laboratory, and Isabel San Martín, diabetes nurse educator from the patient association, who, since last year, have visited 15 different educational centers in Pamplona and some Navarrese towns. , like Peralta or Artajona.

A chronic but controllable disease

As part of Cinfa’s commitment to the dissemination of healthy habits and within the CinfaSalud project, the objective of these talks is, in the words of the laboratory expert, “to make boys and girls understand that the risk of developing this disease is closely linked to eating habits and lifestyle, as well as raising awareness about the situation of a person or a boy or girl with diabetes, so that they can offer support or help in the event of possible complications.”

As the ANADI specialist adds, “the involvement and respect on the part of classmates and teachers will avoid stigmatizing minors who have diabetes. It is a chronic disease, but one that, controlled and following certain guidelines, allows these boys and girls to lead a life like that of any other child their age.”

Keys to living with diabetes in the school environment:

Education about the disease. When a minor receives a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, educational work on the disease is required, both for the boy or girl himself – who should know his or her health best – and for his or her family, friends and teachers, who must also Learn about the pharmacological and emotional control of diabetes. The work of raising awareness throughout the environment is basic and often begins in patient associations, which carry out essential information and support work.

Control of glucose/glycemia levels. Within the framework of this diabetes education, glucose self-tests that children need to perform several times a day to know their blood glucose level are extremely important. It is a very simple procedure in which, thanks to a sensor, glucose levels are continuously monitored. Controls should be carried out at certain times (before and after eating, at bedtime, before physical exercise or when a sudden change in blood glucose is suspected).

Insulin self-administration. All people with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin, so to enhance autonomy and self-control of the disease, it is advisable that boys and girls learn to administer the injections – according to the guidelines indicated at all times by their doctor -, at first with the supervision of their parents or teachers and, later, on their own. There are fast-acting and slow-acting insulins that are combined to try to maintain blood glucose within normal limits, taking into account meals, physical exercise and periods of sleep.

Respect for eating habits. Although a boy or girl with diabetes can eat practically anything, it is essential to limit the amount of simple sugars he or she consumes as much as possible; That is, those that are absorbed quickly and cause rapid increases in blood glucose, such as refined sugars, juices, honey and sweets (candy, cakes or industrial pastries in general). Therefore, it is important that in situations of celebrations, snacks or excursions, classmates or teachers do not encourage them to try or eat more of certain foods, in the same way that we should not insist that they eat something that they are rejecting, because they are the ones. They know best what is best for them to eat at any given time, depending on their self-control and how they feel.

Accept the physical exercise guidelines. The same goes for sports. It is important to know that boys and girls with diabetes can practice physical exercise like any other minor, as long as they first check their blood glucose and perform a calculation to assess the necessary insulin adjustment and even a carbohydrate intake. to carry out that activity. In this way, the most important message for colleagues and teachers is respect for the decisions that people with diabetes make about whether or not to continue practicing a sport or physical effort at a certain time.

Normalize your needs. To achieve correct management of the disease and the treatment they must follow, boys and girls with diabetes must feel that their situation is normalized in the school environment. That is, they have free access to drink water and go to the bathroom, since they may need it more than usual; that they can have glucose checks anytime, anywhere without having to hide or be embarrassed; that they can eat what they need without class activities stopping; or that some of the devices they must carry are allowed to emit sounds or vibrate, among other examples.

Essential kit in your own space. In general, boys or girls with this disease should always carry a bag with the essential material to control it: glucometer and test strips, insulin and glucagon syringes, needles for administration, juices, sugar, contact telephone numbers, etc. Therefore, it is also important that they have an accessible space in the classroom or school where they can leave this kit and that it is general knowledge, in case it is necessary to use it.

Know how to react to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Teaching and school staff must have basic notions of how to act in these cases, which are somewhat serious and can frighten minors. Due to a mismatch between the amount of insulin administered and the body’s glucose requirement, hypoglycemia can occur, which can produce a crisis, manifested by paleness, drowsiness, tremors, hunger or even loss of consciousness. It is crucial to quickly raise glucose levels by giving the child some sugary food – sugar, a soft drink, fruit juice or cookies -, letting him rest and monitoring blood glucose more frequently. When the blood sugar level is very high, it is called hyperglycemia, and the child may feel tired, have stomach pain, have the urge to urinate, have a fruity smell on their breath, and be very thirsty, although they may also be asymptomatic. In these cases, insulin treatment should be applied, as long as blood glucose has been measured.

Offer help and support. Life-threatening situations do not need to occur for a boy or girl with diabetes to benefit from support from their environment, since they must control many aspects of their health throughout the day and make numerous decisions based on thereto. That there is a responsible teacher and that all the boys and girls in the class are aware of their illness, know what the appropriate glucose levels are or the symptoms of complications, and that at certain times they have the confidence to ask how they are doing. It can improve the patient’s daily life, especially on an emotional level.

Fluid communication with families. In this disease, which requires constant monitoring and great anticipation, it is essential to establish a relationship of trust and fluid communication between teachers, the family of the child with diabetes and health professionals, in order to quickly notify if it arises. an important need or to give peace of mind, especially if the child is very young.

About Cinfa

The Spanish company Cinfa is the laboratory most present in the homes of our country. With more than half a century of experience, it is part of a group made up of more than 2,200 professionals.

As a socially responsible company, and within the framework of the SDGs, Cinfa carries out various initiatives in line with its mission of working for people’s health, among which is CinfaSalud, its health education and health promotion project. a healthy lifestyle. These contents are available at, on X, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Tiktok and through its dissemination channel on WhatsApp.