The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi is here to help make the transition of a diagnosis of diabetes into the real world as smooth as possible. We are here to help educate schools, daycares, and work places to become more aware of the needs of those with diabetes. Through our advocacy, we have been able to make the transition back to school much easier.
Lifesaver Campaign for Law Enforcement
The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi provides a free in-service program to all law enforcement officials statewide. Law enforcement officials receive training on how to recognize diabetic emergencies and how to respond to the driver’s actions. In addition, law enforcement personnel are educated on hypoglycemia. The program also aims to inform the law enforcement personnel about medic-alert identification, diabetes license plates and special coded driver’s licenses, as well as different diabetes medications and supplies and the symptoms of hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic episodes.
Is it drinking, drugs, or diabetes? Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) symptoms often mimic impairment caused by alcohol or drugs.
Warning signs of low blood sugar:
- Weakness or fatigue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Irritability or anxiety
- Blurred vision
- Inability to waken
To avoid a tragic error, check for:
- Diabetes car tag and/or driver’s license
- Medical alert card or bracelet
- Glucose tabs or gel
- Blood glucose meter
Give patients glucose gel and transport to nearest emergency room. Half a can of regular soda can be given if no gel is available and if patient is able to swallow.
Special License Plates and Drivers Licenses
Help is here for Mississippians with diabetes! Thanks to a joint effort of the Mississippi Legislature, the State Tax Commission and the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, our license plate was launched in August of 2002 for people with diabetes. The DFM’s car tag helps alert law enforcement personnel when a driver may be experiencing a hypoglycemic episode and, consequently, driving erratically. The diabetes license plate signals to emergency personnel that the driver has diabetes, which, ultimately, could help save a life.
The driver’s license has a purple star on the bottom of the license, indicating that the driver has diabetes. There is also a space on the license to list whether the individual is insulin dependent or takes oral medications. The license plate is also available to all Mississippi drivers with diabetes. The plate has the DFM’s logo on it and says “Defeat Diabetes.”
There is no additional charge beyond your regular registration, taxes and fees for the license plates, if the car title is in the name of the driver who has diabetes. However, if the title is in someone else’s name, but the person with diabetes is the primary driver of the car, there is a charge of $31.00 for a diabetes license plate. Car tag prices may vary depending on the county.
Diabetic Alert Dogs
With the support of the Diabetes Foundation, House Bill 1405 passed in the legislature regarding Diabetic Alert Dogs in the school system, signed by Governor Bryant.
“Diabetic service dogs are just another fail safe in case technology doesn’t do its job. Then you have nature to back it up. Any potential safety net that you can provide for a child is well worth it” Dr. John Mayfield III.
For some people, dogs are merely pets – someone to play fetch and go on walks with. For others, their dogs are their best friends – someone to confide in and snuggle close to at night. For some, their dog is their protector and life-saver. He is their hero.
What makes a diabetes alert dog?
A dog’s scent detection capacity is 10 to 50+ times stronger than a human’s. Certain types of dogs are able to do more with their superior sense of smell than others. Scenting breeds take full advantage of their amazing capability to ‘taste’ smells, and the Diabetes Alert Dogs can categorize scents and associate smells with specific human responses.
It’s because of their amazing scenting abilities that a DAD can detect a change in blood sugar levels in humans. We train them to not only recognize the change, but to react by alerting their humans by barking, nudging them, or bringing them a special item. The reaction, in real time, helps us know when a change is actively happening. To a person with diabetes, that real-time alert can be crucial.
Many breeds are bred specifically for their sense of smell. While hunting dogs certainly qualify for the job, they aren’t the only breed that does it amazingly well. The best candidate for a DAD is one that scents well, has an above average work ethic and is able to manage their work drive to be calm enough to live within the parameters of a family setting.
Certain breeds fit all of those requirements easily, but all the individuals in a breed will not make a good diabetes alert dog. Variations of personality, temperaments, and drive even within a litter can be extreme. So while a breeder has a whole litter of pups, only 1, 2 or none may qualify for the demands of being a Diabetes Alert Dog.
For those living with diabetes, maintaining proper glucose levels can be challenging. Exercise, food, infections and stress are instrumental factors that will stimulate high (hyperglycemic) or low (hypoglycemic) blood sugars. Individual with diabetes must learn to maintain a healthy balance between these factors to prevent life-threatening consequences. Many people struggling to maintain healthy glucose levels choose to purchase diabetic alert dogs (DAD).