First Aid For Diabetes

Facts About Diabetes

  • People with diabetes can get too high or low blood sugar in a short period of time – both of them require quick help from the environment

Too low blood sugar

  • May cause increased sweat, cold, clumsy and pale skin, strong pulse and palpitation, hunger and weakness.
  • The person may be confused and respond badly to the charge, and sometimes faint and get seizures similar to epilepsy

Too high blood sugar

  • May cause dry skin and a deep, heavy breathing and rapid pulse.
  • The person’s breath can smell acetone (nail polish remover) and he / she can be very thirsty, be unclear and confused and rarely lose consciousness
  • If the person is angry or unconscious call a medical centre


  • A person with diabetes is unable to produce the right amount of insulin
  • Insulin is a hormone that controls how much sugar is in the blood
  • Too much insulin causes an abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
  • Insufficient insulin causes an abnormally high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia)
  • Both modes can be serious

First aid in case of unclear diagnosis

  • As a starting point, it can be difficult to determine if the patient has too high or too low blood sugar
  • If the person feels uncomfortable and you know he / she has diabetes, you can give something sweet to drink, eg apple juice or sweet juice
  • This will quickly correct a low blood sugar and it will not cause harm if the person has high blood sugar

First aid on unconsciousness

  • Ensure free airways and check that the person breathes
  • Put the person in sideways if he / she breathes
  • Get ready for resuscitation if necessary
  • Call ambulance
  • Record regular vital functions such as degree of response (awareness), breathing and pulse until help reaches

Too low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

Typical symptoms and signs

  • Appears primarily in patients who use insulin, but can also be seen in patients receiving tablets of the sulphonylurea group (eg gliclazide, glibenclamide) for their diabetes
  • Sweat – cold, damp and pale skin
  • Strong pulse and palpitation
  • Hunger, weakness, can faint
  • Confusion and responding badly to accusation
  • Surface breathing
  • May have seizures similar to epilepsy

First aid

  • Give sugary drinks or food
    • Ask the person to sit down
    • Give a drink or something sweet to eat
  • Ask them to relax
    • When the person starts to feel better, you can give more food or drink
    • He must take it easy
    • The patient should be able to talk with his doctor about the treatment

Too high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia)

Typical symptoms and signs

  • Person with diabetes, especially among people who use insulin, but can also be seen in patients who receive tablets for their diabetes
  • Dry skin
  • Deep, heavy breathing. Fast pulse
  • The breath of the person can smell acetone (same smell as nail polish remover)
  • Extreme thirst
  • The person may be unclear and confused and may rarely lose consciousness

First aid

  • Possibly give something sweet to drink or eat if you are unsure of the diagnosis
  • Call 112 and call ambulance
  • Record regular vital features such as degree of response (awareness), breathing and pulse until help reaches
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