ST JOHN AMBULANCE: How to help someone who is suffering from hypoglycaemia

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St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Littlehampton Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: recognising and dealing with hypoglycaemia.

This condition occurs when the blood sugar level falls below normal.

Hypoglycaemia develops if the insulin-sugar balance is incorrect; for example, when a person with diabetes misses a meal or takes too much exercise.

It is more common in a person with newly diagnosed diabetes while he is getting used to balancing sugar levels.

More rarely, hypoglycaemia may develop following an epileptic seizure or after an episode of binge drinking.

It can also occur with heat exhaustion or hypothermia.

People with diabetes may carry their own blood testing kits to check their blood sugar levels, as well as their insulin medication, sugar cubes or a tube of glucose gel.

If the hypoglycaemic attack is at an advanced stage, consciousness may be impaired and you must seek emergency help.

Symptoms might include:

• Weakness, faintness or hunger.

• Confusion and irrational behaviour.

• Sweating with cold, clammy skin.

• Rapid pulse, palpitations and muscle tremors.

Follows these simple steps to help:

• Help the casualty to sit down. Give them a sugary drink, sugar lumps or sweet food. If they have their own glucose gel, help them to take it.

• If the casualty responds quickly, give them more food and drink and let them rest until they feels better. Help them find their glucose testing kit so that they can check their glucose level. Monitor them until they is fully recovered.

• If their condition does not improve, look for other causes. Call 999/112 for emergency help and monitor and record their vital signs until help arrives.

If consciousness is impaired, do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink and if the casualty loses consciousness, open the airway and check breathing.

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website (www.sja.org.uk) offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice.

For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website {http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx |(www.sja.org.uk)|www.sja.org.uk} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

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