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Steps for Dealing With High Blood Sugar


Topic Overview

Mild to moderately high blood sugar

Follow these steps if blood sugar is over 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL):

  • If the usual dose of medicine for type 2 diabetes or insulin was missed, give the missed dose.
  • If the doctor has prescribed a dose of fast-acting insulin based on the blood sugar level (sliding scale), give the appropriate dose. If not, call the doctor for advice.
  • Test urine for ketones, if the doctor has advised you to do so. If the results of the ketone test show a moderate-to-large amount of ketones in the urine, call the doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after giving the extra insulin or the missed medicine.
  • Check the blood sugar again.
  • Extra liquids are needed to replace the fluids lost through the urine. Water and sugar-free drinks are best.
  • If symptoms of high blood sugar become more noticeable or if the blood sugar level continues to rise, call the doctor.
  • If your child's blood sugar continues to rise above 240 mg/dL and he or she starts to feel drowsy or loses consciousness, take your child to an emergency room or call or other emergency services immediately. Stay with your child until emergency help arrives.
  • If you start to feel drowsy or disoriented or your blood sugar continues to rise above 350 mg/dL, call or other emergency services immediately. It's best to have someone with you if your blood sugar is this elevated so that the person can call for you.

Extremely high blood sugar

Follow these steps if your child's blood sugar is over 400 mg/dL or if your blood sugar is over 600 mg/dL. Some blood sugar meters read only levels up to about 400 mg/dL.

  • Wash the finger carefully before checking again. Sometimes sugar on the skin will cause a high reading.
  • If the meter reads high, test the accuracy of the meter, and then recheck the blood sugar.
  • If the meter reads high again, call the doctor for advice or take your child to the emergency room.

After a high blood sugar episode

After blood sugar level has returned to a target range, continue medicine as prescribed by the doctor and check blood sugar levels as directed. Report the episode to the doctor.

Drink extra liquids to replace the fluids lost through the urine. Water and sugar-free drinks are best. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Also avoid regular soda pop, fruit juice, and other liquids that contain a lot of sugar.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJennifer Hone, MD, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Last RevisedJuly 1, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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