WellSpan Home

Diabetes in Children: Treating Low Blood Sugar

Introduction

Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood of a person with diabetes drops below what the body needs to function normally. Taking too much insulin, not eating enough food or skipping meals, or exercising more than usual can cause blood sugar levels to drop rapidly.

If your child's blood sugar level drops very low and he or she does not get help, your child could have a seizure or go into a coma and possibly die.

These four simple steps might save your child's life:

  • Test your child's blood sugar as suggested by his or her doctor so that you do not have to guess when your child's blood sugar is low.
  • Be alert to the early signs of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, hunger, blurred vision, and dizziness.
  • Have your child keep some hard candy, raisins, or other foods that contain sugar with him or her at all times. Your child should eat some at the first sign of low blood sugar.
  • Teach all of your child's caregivers what to do if your child's blood sugar is very low.

How do you deal with low blood sugar?

Low blood sugar levels can develop rapidly, within minutes. Treat low blood sugar symptoms as soon as you notice them.

Here are some ways to manage a low blood sugar emergency.

Be prepared

  • Keep some quick-sugar food with your child at all times. These foods include glucose tablets, fruit juice, and raisins.
  • Know the symptoms of low blood sugar. Post these symptoms where the list can be seen often, and have your child carry a copy at all times. Add any symptoms that your child has that aren't on the list. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, blurred vision, and confusion.
  • Have your child wear medical identification, such as a medical alert bracelet or a medical alert temporary tattoo, in case your child's blood sugar drops very low and he or she needs help.
  • Keep glucagon on hand. If your child becomes unconscious when his or her blood sugar is very low, someone may need to give your child an injection of glucagon to raise the blood sugar level. Keep the instructions for how to give glucagon with your child's glucagon. Also, check the expiration date on the glucagon—most glucagon kits need to be replaced every 6 months to a year.
  • Teach your child's caregivers how to check blood sugar. Have instructions for using the blood sugar meter stored with the meter so the caregiver can review the instructions if needed.
  • Post emergency care for low blood sugar instructions in a convenient place at home and at school.

Treat low blood sugar early

  • Check your child's blood sugar level if you think it may be low, even if you don't see any symptoms. Follow the steps for treating low blood sugar when your child develops symptoms of low blood sugar or when your child's blood sugar is below his or her target range.
  • Write down your child's symptoms and what you did. Use a low blood sugar level record( What is a PDF document? ).
  • Let the doctor know if your child is having frequent low blood sugar problems. Your child's medicine or insulin pump may need to be changed or adjusted.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerStephen H. LaFranchi, MD - Pediatric Endocrinology

Current as ofDecember 7, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×