St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity is bringing you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: recognising and dealing with hypoglycaemia. 

Too much insulin can cause low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia (hypo).

This often happens when someone with diabetes misses a meal or does too much exercise. It can also happen after someone has had an epileptic seizure or has been binge drinking.

If someone knows they are diabetic, they may recognise the start of a hypo attack, but without help they may quickly become weak and unresponsive.

What to look for: 
•    Weakness, faintness or hunger
•    Confusion and irrational behaviour
•    Sweating with cold, clammy skin
•    Rapid pulse
•    Trembling
•    Deteriorating level of response
•    Medical warning bracelet or necklace and glucose gel or sweets
•    Medication such as an insulin pen or tablets and a glucose testing kit

What you need to do: 
•    Help them sit down. If they have their own glucose gel, help them take it. If not, you need to give them something sugary like fruit juice, a fizzy drink, two teaspoons of sugar, or sugary sweets.
•    If they improve quickly, give them more sugary food or drink and let them rest. If they have their glucose testing kit with them, help them use it to check their glucose level. Stay with them until they feel completely better.
•    If they do not improve quickly, look for any other causes and then call 999 or 112 for medical help.
•    While waiting, keep checking their responsiveness, breathing and pulse.

If they lose responsiveness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who’s become unresponsive. For more free first aid advice and information on courses go to

Article  supplied by Kate Rutsch