SHE’S just six years old, but Alyssa Easby has had to endure at least five injections a day to manage her diabetes.
Now that is set to change as the youngster tests a new diabetic pump.
A small tube is inserted into the body, which regularly provides insulin.
The level is regulated by an electronic device that is carried in a pouch, avoiding the need for as many injections.
Insulin levels can be changed by pressing a button.
Alyssa, and her parents Ann, 42, and Stewart, 49, have been visiting Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, for the past four weeks to learn how to use the pump.
Ann, a part-time receptionist, of Portsmouth Road, Horndean, said: ‘Since Alyssa was diagnosed at 16 months old with Type 1 diabetes, she’s had at least five injections a day.
‘This is from 7am to 7pm and can be increased, if we’re on holiday, let’s say.
‘This can add up to around 2,000 injections a year, and for someone so young is quite a lot.’
QA is trying out the pump on 12 children, whose families were written to by the hospital.
The tube needs to be changed every three days.
It gives the family a lot more freedom.
Stewart, an engineer, said: ‘It affects the whole family.
‘We have very regimented meal times, so we can give Alyssa her insulin.
‘We have two other children, and if Alyssa couldn’t have ice cream, then neither could the other two.
‘This pump should give us more flexibility with these things.’
While other hospital trusts have provided the pumps for a number of years, QA said it has been working to ensure a support team is place so families know how to use the pump correctly.
A team of nine nurses and consultants runs the service.
One pump costs £2,800 for four years, and £100 a month for consumable items such as insulin and the tube.
Dr Nalin Wickramasuriya, consultant paediatrician, said: ‘The advantage of this is you can fine-tune blood sugar levels, and control the level of insulin.
‘We’re doing a lot to support children and their families to ensure they can use the pump correctly.’
DIABETIC PUMP HAS HELPED YOUNG JOE
CAMPAIGNING Joe Cobbold is over the moon that a diabetic pump has been made available to him.
As previously reported, Joe, 12, of Nelson Avenue, North End, Portsmouth, went to the Houses of Parliament to fight for the pump to be made available.
He said: ‘I’ve been using it for about a month now, and it’s a lot better.
‘I can control insulin with the press of a button.’