All Diabetics that use insulin, especially children with Type 1 Diabetes, should have access to an emergency glucose kit, also known as a Glucagon Emergency Kit. When a Diabetic misses a dose of insulin, takes too much insulin, or, for any reason, has a very low blood sugar level, the person can lose consciousness and go into shock. For diabetics, one of the most needed things (except for insulin) is having a glucagon shot and someone capable of using it when necessary.
Important: Diabetics should always tell people around them, such as family members and co-workers, of their condition. Those family members and coworkers should always know where the Glucagon Emergency Kit is just in case the Diabetic loses consciousness and cannot inject him or herself.
How it Works
A glucagon kit is similar in appearance and use to an insulin kit, in that there is a needle and a vial of medication. However, instead of injecting insulin, a person experiencing low blood sugar should be injected with glucagons. Often, the person will be unconscious, so someone will have to inject him or her with the glucagon before he or she goes into coma.
Glucagon is a hormone that raises the level of glucose in the blood. The alpha cells of the pancreas, in areas called the islets of Langerhans, make glucagon when the body needs to put more sugar into the blood.
Glucagon, like insulin, must be injected.
Within the glucagon kit are a syringe pre-filled with a liquid and a vial of powdered glucagon. You prepare the glucagon for injection immediately before use by following the instructions that are included with the glucagon kit. In general, small children (under 20 kg, or 44 pounds) are given 1/2 cc (half the syringe), while older children and adults are given 1cc (the entire syringe). In kids, some authorities advise using 1/2 cc to start with, and then giving the other 1/2 about 20 minutes later if needed. This method can lessen the rebound hyperglycemia that usually ensues after use of glucagon. There is no danger of overdose, however. Injection is given in a large muscle, such as the buttocks, thigh or arm. (The needle on the syringe is usually larger than those on insulin syringes.)
There is injection preparation instructions imprinted onto the cases of emergency glucagon kits and Blood Glucose Test Kit so that the process is simple even for someone injecting a patient for the first time. It is best to inject a patient in a large muscle, such as the thigh or buttocks, because of the size of the needle. Keep in mind is that children should only be given about half of the syringe (1/2 cc) while adults should take the whole syringe (1cc).
Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetics
Type 2 Diabetics and pre-diabetics may also face low blood sugar levels that cause them to require emergency treatment. In most cases, a simple glass of juice or piece of candy can help to restore the blood sugar to safe levels. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep Sugar Free Candies or a juice box on hand, even when you are not insulin-dependent.