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School lunches are a challenge for type 1 diabetics

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: School lunches are a challenge for type 1 diabetics
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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Those with type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, are trying to raise awareness about the difference between their disease and type 2 diabetes. As our Katie Gibas reports, eating out or even having lunch in school a challenge.

NATIONWIDE -- For type 1 diabetics like Frankie Palladino and Justin Henson, every bite can be a challenge. They need to count their carbs and inject insulin accordingly.

"Some kids are every 10 carbs, you get one unit. Some kids are every 20 carbs, you get one unit," said Erica Henson, the mother of a type 1 diabetic.

But, when you don't know the carb counts, estimating can lead to a rollercoaster of effects.

"It's actually very scary. He can go into a ketoacidosis, so what ketoacidosis is initially is turning your blood into acid and eating your organs. Or you can end up with the wrong carb count and end up with too much insulin and go into a diabetic coma," said Henson.

School lunches have been a particular challenge for type 1 diabetics. In an effort to make them healthier, the federal government has changed what schools are allowed to serve. As a result, school districts are in the process of updating all their menus and lists of nutritional values.

"We don't know if they're using the new chicken nuggets or the old chicken nuggets. And the carb counts are different. The old ones are 24 and the new ones are 8. And for some kids, that could mean triple the amount of medication," said Henson.

Patty Palladino, a mother of a type 1 diabetic, added, "You're just buying a yogurt bar or a granola bar, and those used to not be listed on the website. You'd either have to go into the school and read the label or call the food service manager."

With the new food regulations, parents say schools are working diligently to update everything. They say in recent weeks, there have only been a couple instances where the carb count wasn't available. But for some parents, school lunches are a variable they choose to eliminate.

"My son gets a homemade lunch most of the time. And it's not because I don't trust them or the carbs are wrong, it's just I can tell you exactly what's in it when I make it. All that being said, you're also on a roller coaster called type 1 diabetes. Every variable in life makes a difference to your blood glucose level," said Palladino.

Below is a list of Central New York events happening throughout National Diabetes Awareness Month:

Swan Pond and the village gazebo will be lit up in blue

Dazzle on Fayette Street is selling WHAT'S YOUR TYPE shirts, pins, etc.

Bella Cigna restaurant is Selling Frankie's Blue Plate Special, which is named for Frankie Palladino and made up of all of Frankie's Bella Cigna favorites.

In Stitches, a yarn shop on Seneca Street in Manlius, will donate proceeds from every sale of blue yarn, blue yarn supplies and anything blue sold in their shop throughout November.

Dazzle is hosting a Pre-Holiday Shopping Party that is open to the Public on November 13 at 6:30 p.m. 10% of all sales go to JDRF.

Mayor Serafin will be at Dazzle to make a proclamation about Frankie's Quest and World Diabetes Day on November 14 at 11:00 a.m.

Frankie will be at the Rite Aid on Cazenovia Road in Manlius talking about all things related to diabetes, as well as his quest, on November 17 at 12:00 p.m.

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