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Diabetes: How to Give Glucagon - Topic Overview

To give an injection of glucagon

  • Glucagon is given just like an injection of insulin and can be given in the same areas of the body as insulin.
  • Follow these steps to give the injection:
    1. Turn the person's head to the side to prevent choking if he or she vomits.
    2. With one hand, slightly pinch a fold of skin between your fingers.
    3. Hold the syringe like a pencil close to the site, keeping your fingers off the plunger. Usually the syringe goes straight into the skin (90-degree angle). But for thin adults and small children with little fat, the needle may need to go in at a slant (45-degree angle) to keep the medicine from going into muscle.
    4. Bend your wrist, and quickly push the needle all the way into the pinched-up area.
    5. Push the plunger of the syringe all the way in so that the medicine goes into the tissue. Give the amount of glucagon that the person's doctor has recommended.
    6. Remove the needle from the skin slowly and at the same angle that you inserted it.
    7. Give some quick-sugar food when the person is alert.

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

Any time a person with diabetes gets glucagon, he or she should talk to a doctor to try to find out what caused the low blood sugar episode. Possible causes include getting too much insulin, missing a meal, injecting insulin into a blood vessel, having an illness other than diabetes, having liver or kidney damage, exercise, or taking a new medicine.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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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.

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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.

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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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