Hypoglycemia Do's and Don'ts
Low Blood Sugar Do’s
There’s never a good or convenient time to have a low blood sugar episode. To minimize the disruption to your life and help prevent problems, make these guidelines a part of your diabetes treatment plan. If your child has diabetes, apply these same guidelines to help keep him or her safe.
- Be prepared! Keep pure glucose on your person and/or in places where you spend a lot of time: For instance, desk drawer, nightstand, briefcase, travel carry-on bag, backpack, purse, glove compartment of vehicles, child’s lunch box and locker, teacher’s desk and school nurse’s office.
- Wear medical identification (I.D.) that lets others know you have diabetes. A bracelet or necklace is best. Wearing medical ID can save your life—a helpful person or emergency personnel can quickly identify that you have diabetes. Also, carry an “I Have Diabetes” card in your wallet where you can write details about your diabets care.
- Carry your blood sugar checking supplies. If you have signs and symptoms of a low, you’ll be able to check and know for sure. You’ll also know that you have remedied it.
- Tell your loved ones ahead of time how they can help. Familiarize those closest to you with the signs and symptoms of a low and what you need to eat to raise your blood sugar to your target range.
- Consider your need for food to prevent another low blood sugar episode within the next few hours. The ongoing action of blood glucose-lowering medicines can cause repeated low blood sugar episodes. Also be aware that there is greater frequency of hypoglycemia overnight while you sleep due to hormonal changes.
- Always check your blood sugar before you drive. Make sure your blood sugar is in a safe range. If it’s too low, correct it. This protects both you and others.
- Check your blood sugar before going to sleep. Knowing your blood sugar number before going to sleep, and taking any necessary action, can prevent a low during the night. If your child has diabetes you’ll need to check their blood sugar before bed and at times during the night. Discuss what’s best for your child with your health care professional.
- Inform those around your child about low blood sugar. Tell your child’s grandparents, teachers, his or her best friends and anyone looking after your child what low blood sugar is, its signs and your child’s symptoms. If they suspect your child is having a severe low, they should use a hypoglycemia rescue kit and immediately seek medical assistance.
Child safety tip: Work out ways your child can reach you, or reach help, quickly if he or she is having a low. Giving your child a cell phone with your phone number and the number they should use to seek immediate medical assistance, is one way.
Low Blood Sugar Don’ts
- Do not assume that you will be able to find pure glucose, soda, juice or candy at the ready when you need it.
- Do not ignore mild symptoms of low blood sugar or a blood sugar result that is trending down.
- Do not resist asking for help, or accepting it, if you need it. Sometimes a helping hand can help you overcome a low more quickly.
- Do not over-correct lows with too much carbohydrate. It is natural to want to raise your blood sugar quickly to rid yourself of any uncomfortable feelings. Also, a low often produces hunger. Be careful not to consume too much food, however. Over-correcting can make your blood sugar rise too high and also make it harder to control your blood sugar over the next few hours and days. Eating too much carbohydrate or fat can also lead to weight gain, which will make your diabetes, and any other related conditions, harder to manage.
- Try not to panic. Whether you are having a low, or your child is, you want to stay calm. If you feel anxious try to pause and think clearly what to do.
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