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Type 1 Diabetes: Emergency Care for Low Blood Sugar


Topic Overview

This information is for people who may help you if you are too weak or confused to treat your low blood sugar. Make a copy for your partner, coworkers, and friends.

  • Make sure the person can swallow. Give the person ½ teaspoon of water. If the person can swallow the water without choking or coughing:
    • Give him or her 4 oz of liquid (juice or soda pop) from the list of quick-sugar foods, or glucose tabs or gel if available.
    • Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Offer the person more quick-sugar food if he or she is feeling better but still has some symptoms of low blood sugar.
    • Check the person's blood sugar level using his or her blood sugar (glucose) meter if available.
    • Stay with the person until his or her blood sugar level is 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher.
    • Offer the person a snack (such as cheese and crackers or half of a sandwich).
    • If the person becomes more sleepy or seems to have no energy, callor other emergency services immediately.
  • If the person is unconscious or unable to swallow:
    • Call for emergency care right away.
    • Give the person a shot of glucagon if one is available. See a slideshow about how to give a glucagon injectionClick here to see an illustration..
    • If emergency help has not arrived within 5 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another glucagon shot.
    • Stay with the person until emergency help comes.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last RevisedNovember 2, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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