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Diabetes: How to Give Glucagon - Topic Overview

This information is for people who may need to give a person with diabetes an injection of glucagon during a low blood sugar emergency.

If you find someone with diabetes unconscious and suspect low blood sugar, do not take time to check the person's blood sugar level before giving him or her glucagon. You will do no harm by giving him or her glucagon, even if his or her blood sugar level turns out not to be low—meaning that something else caused the person's loss of consciousness. But the longer you wait to treat severe low blood sugar, the greater the chance of serious side effects such as a seizure.

You may want to have two glucagon kits available in case you make a mistake while you are preparing the medicine. Glucagon has to be given immediately after it is prepared—it cannot be prepared ahead of time. Always check the expiration date on the kit.

If the person with diabetes is unconscious, give them the glucagon shot, then immediately call911or other emergency services. If emergency services have not arrived within 5 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another glucagon shot.

Practice giving your partner or child an insulin injection at least once a month so you will not be afraid if you need to give someone glucagon in an emergency.

Keep information on how to give glucagon with the glucagon medicine, and review these steps often.

Preparing a glucagon injection

Glucagon medicine comes in two types of packages.

A syringe and one bottle in the package

  • This glucagon emergency kit has a syringe that contains liquid (diluent) and a bottle that contains the medicine.
  • Follow these steps slideshow.gif when you have this kit:
    1. Insert the needle into the bottle and push the liquid in.
    2. Remove the syringe.
    3. Gently shake the bottle until the liquid becomes clear.
    4. Insert the syringe back into the bottle, and withdraw the medicine.
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    Normal
    70-130
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    Your level is currently

    If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

    People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

    Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

    However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

    Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

    Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

    One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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