JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Jefferson City Public Schools spokeswoman Amy Berendzen said four Jefferson City students were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during Christmas break, and unfortunately one of the four has died.
Berendzen stated all four boys presented with extremely elevated blood sugar levels and that a normal glucose reading for boys between the age of 13 and 15 is less than 140.
Corey Scott, a social studies teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School said his son was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Scott said it's important to know what to look for because the symptoms can be confused with less serious viral infections.
ABC 17 News asked Scott what can a parent know in the event that they were to lose a child to conditions like this.
"It's not your fault. Unless someone had already diagnosed your kid and said this is the problem then you didn't know and sometimes families face loss even when they do know," Scott said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk at catching the flu, but the four Jefferson City families each thought their child's illness was "just the typical viral bug," Berendzen said.
The CDC said the flu often results in hospitalization and sometimes even death, and according to Berendzen, the four families were each alarmed to discover their child was, in fact, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Berendzen stated even her own son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last December at the young age of 13.
"It's not just about Jefferson City public schools, it's not just about Jefferson City, Missouri. It's certainly not about me or my family, but it's about all of us in this community in this world we live in. To help each other out," Berendzen said.
Jefferson City Public Schools wants to bring awareness in watching for signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, and although it may not stop the amount of people being diagnosed, Berendzen is hoping it will help people to catch the disease sooner.
Some signs include: frequent urination, increase in thirst, fatigue, headache, blurred vision and at times it can mimic flu-like symptoms.
The CDC also confirmed that the flu can cause chronic health problems, like diabetes, worse.
Having diabetes makes the immune system less able to fight infection, and according to the CDC, it also makes it harder to control blood sugar.
"Parents need to be aware that if they are not getting over the flu or they are not getting better, that there might be some other problem," Scott said.
To read more on the flu and people with diabetes, you can find that here.