First aid treatment for diabetic emergencies

Be prepared: First aid treatment for diabetic emergencies

Diabetic emergencies can occur unexpectedly, demanding immediate attention and appropriate first aid. With the prevalence of diabetes on the rise globally, understanding how to respond to such emergencies is paramount. In this blog, Rose delves into essential first aid treatment for diabetic emergencies, equipping you with the knowledge and skills to effectively assist individuals experiencing such crises.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, with the number expected to rise.
  • Diabetic emergencies, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), can lead to serious complications if not addressed promptly.
  • Studies suggest that up to 6% of people with diabetes will experience a severe hypoglycemic event each year.

Key definitions

  • Hypoglycaemia - A condition characterised by low blood sugar levels, often resulting from too much insulin, insufficient food intake, or excessive physical activity.
  • Hyperglycaemia - Elevated blood sugar levels, typically caused by insufficient insulin, illness, or stress.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practices

  • Employers have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the health and safety of their employees, including providing adequate first aid training.
  • The Resuscitation Council UK offers guidelines on managing hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia emergencies, emphasising prompt recognition and appropriate intervention.
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the UK assesses healthcare providers' compliance with regulations, including those related to emergency care and diabetes management.

Recognising the signs

  • Symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, trembling, confusion, and dizziness.
  • Signs of hyperglycemia may include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue.

First aid interventions

  • Provide fast-acting carbohydrates such as glucose tablets, fruit juice, or sugary snacks for hypoglycemia.
  • If the individual is unconscious or unable to swallow, administer glucagon injection if available and seek emergency medical assistance.
  • In cases of hyperglycemia, encourage the individual to drink water and seek medical advice if blood sugar levels remain high or if symptoms worsen.


  • Ensure all staff members, particularly those in healthcare and education settings, receive comprehensive first aid training that covers diabetic emergencies.
  • Keep emergency supplies such as glucose tablets and glucagon injections readily accessible in workplaces, schools, and other public settings.
  • Encourage individuals with diabetes to carry identification indicating their condition and emergency contact information.


Being prepared to respond to diabetic emergencies can significantly improve the outcomes for individuals with diabetes. By familiarising yourself with the signs and appropriate first aid interventions, you can be crucial in providing timely assistance and potentially saving lives.

Don't wait until an emergency strikes. Click here to enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications today and empower yourself with the skills to respond effectively to emergencies.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

First aid treatment for emergencies - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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