Excercise & physical
Exercising muscles uses more glucose for energy. This may cause
the blood glucose level (BGL) to fall either during, immediately
after, or, in the case of prolonged or intensive exercise, hours
If the exercise is intensive and sustained, extra carbohydrates
may be needed before the sport. If the sport has been particularly
vigorous or lengthy, extra carbohydrates may also be required
after sport. Additional blood glucose monitoring will
also be required during and after vigorous or lengthy exercise.
Note that it is NOT appropriate to ask a child to exercise for
the purpose of decreasing their blood glucose level. Exercise
may actually cause the child's blood glucose level to rise and put
them in danger.
There is no specific diet recommended for children with
diabetes. People with diabetes are recommended to follow the
same healthy eating principles recommended for all people.
Diabetes management is a balancing act between carbohydrate food
eaten, exercise and insulin. All these factors affect blood glucose
Families are responsible for providing the school with details
about their child's food requirements and their child's particular
hypo treatment (glucose food/drink).
Insulin is delivered by pen device, syringe or pump.
Students with type 1 diabetes often require three to four
injections per day and may need insulin at school, including before
and after school care.
While school staff are not required to assist with insulin
administration, many teachers do volunteer to administer a
student's insulin or supervise self-administration.
If a student is self-administering insulin at school, staff may
need to arrange a private area for the student to administer their
insulin under supervision. For high school students with the
maturity, understanding and intelligence to manage their own health
condition and make their own decisions, the input of their parents
is not required. However students must be allowed to contact
their parents if they do wish to discuss their diabetes care with
Students using an insulin pump may require supervision with
administering insulin bolus doses.
Storage of insulin needs to be considered as part of a risk
assessment in consultation with the school Principal and the
parent/guardian/carer, and should not be stored in a locked
cupboard or safe.
Insulin 'in use' should be stored below 30 degrees and away from
direct sunlight and heat sources but not allowed to freeze if
placed in a refrigerator.
Sick day management
During illness the body may need more insulin and blood glucose
levels may become less stable.
Students with type 1 diabetes should never be sent alone to seek
first aid assistance or left unattended when feeling unwell. It is
safer to send for adult assistance to come to the student. It is
not safe practice to send the student with another student to find
Equipment storage and sharps disposal
Blood glucose monitoring equipment must be within easy access
for the student at all times. It must not be locked away in a
cupboard or classroom.
Wherever the student goes, so too should the blood glucose
meter, hypo kit and Emergency Health Plan. This includes the
classroom, the school oval, the playground and class excursions. It
is recommended that additional hypo kits should be available for
use, if required, in an alternative place, e.g. the school
All schools should ensure they have sharps disposal kits made
available. The kit should include a sharps container, disposable
gloves and a copy of the guidelines for the disposal of
needles/syringes in a sharps container.
Camps enhance self-esteem, are fun and promote confidence and
independence. There's no reason why students with type 1 diabetes
can't participate fully at camp. Usually students attend camp when
they are reliably independent in the management of their
In preparing for camps, schools follow departmental policies and
procedures which take into account procedures for managing
students' medical conditions such as diabetes. Parents should
meet with the camp organisers prior to the camp to discuss the
student's medical needs, camp activities and possible implications
for their child engaging in camp activities and overnight
Importantly, organisers should be mindful about location
choice in case a student requires medical attention. The
school needs to ensure that if a severe hypoglycaemic episode was
to occur, the student can be treated.
Students with type 1 diabetes can participate in an excursion
when reasonable adjustments are made.
Details to be considered include:
- notifying parents early
- timing of meals and details of food provided
- timing of insulin injections and blood glucose tests
- the need to carry an adequate supply of food (sandwiches, dried
fruit, muesli bars or biscuits) and water without relying on
purchasing food or snacks when needed
- exercise or activities included
- taking a copy of the Individual and Emergency Health Plans
- mobile phone access
- inviting a parent to attend
Exams and tests
Students with type 1 diabetes who have stable blood glucose
levels (BGLs) have more potential to perform to the best of their
ability during exams and tests. When blood glucose levels (BLGs)
are unstable, the student may have difficulty concentrating and may
not perform to their potential.
In this case, consideration should be given as to whether
the student can sit the exam at a later date.
During exams and tests, students may also need more frequent
access to toilets. Students need to be allowed to have access to
their food and blood glucose monitoring equipment in case of hypos
during an exam or test.
Withdrawal from regular classroom
If a student is attending a classroom for detention or withdrawn
from their regular classroom, the student must have access to their
blood glucose monitoring equipment and hypo kit at all times.
The student must be permitted to eat, if necessary, in the
alternative classroom and go to the toilet when required.
Relief teachers, specialists teachers and
The Principal needs to inform relevant school staff, including
specialist teachers and non-contact teachers, about
students with medical conditions, including diabetes, and
their specific health needs.
Staff responsible for playground duty must be provided with
adequate information about students with type 1 diabetes to
ensure that they are able to recognise a hypo and know what is
required if a student has a hypo.
The student's hypo kit and Emergency Health Plan must be made
readily available and be easily accessible.
Consideration should be given to maintaining adequately
trained staff. Appropriate training in diabetes management
needs to be provided prior to support staff commencing
duties in a class attended by a student with type 1
What you need to know about a student's
Type 1 diabetes has a significant
impact on the individual student and their family. Students with
diabetes can worry about their condition and even avoid
managing their diabetes at school for fear of appearing
different to their peers. This can lead to problems such as
social isolation and refusing to go to school. This, in
turn, can be indicative of depression and/or
Therefore, it's important to establish a culture of
school inclusion and support young people with type 1 diabetes
so they can participate fully and safely.
For more information about considerations for school staff,
refer to Students with diabetes - Guidelines for Queensland