As a teacher, how can I spot low blood sugar in a child with diabetes?

A concern during school time is that a child with diabetes may develop hypoglycemia (his blood glucose may drop too low). If you know a child has diabetes, you need to keep a lookout for the potential warning signs. The child may be:

  • unusually sleepy
  • sweating
  • confused
  • pale
  • moody or combative
  • shaky
  • daydreaming
  • suddenly hungry
  • lack of concentration
  • crying
  • lack of coordination
  • headachy

If you notice that one of your students has hypoglycemia, then you should give the child one of the following—even if you are in doubt about their condition:

  • juice (any kind): 4 ounces or half a cup
  • regular soda pop (not diet): half a can
  • glucose tablets: start with two or three
  • milk: one cup (one carton)

You or another staff member should stay with the student until he or she is more responsive and asks to resume normal activity. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. If the child does not respond in that time, repeat the juice or glucose tablets, then call the parents.

Once the child responds, send him or her to lunch with an adult, or give the child a snack of peanut butter, cheese, crackers, a meat sandwich or a glass of milk. If you are unsure about what is happening with the child, and if a blood glucose meter is available, check the child’s blood glucose and give the results to the parents.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.