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First Aid 2023

First Aid for Diabeticsétics

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First Aid for Diabeticsétics
First Aid for Diabeticsétics

To be able to help a diabetic, it is important to know if it is an episode of excess blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as both situations can happen.

Hyperglycemia is more common in diabetics who do not take the proper treatment or do not follow a balanced diet, whereas hypoglycemia is more common in people who are undergoing treatment with insulin or who have not eaten for a long time, for example.

If possible, the first thing you should do is check the person's blood sugar with a suitable device to measure the amount of sugar in the blood. Generally, values below 70 mg/dL indicate hypoglycemia, and values well above 180 mg/dL can indicate hyperglycemia, especially if the person has not just eaten.


1. Hyperglycemia - high sugar

When blood sugar is high, also called hyperglycemia, the device value will show values above 180 mg/dL, fasting, or above 250 mg/dL, at any time of the day.

In addition, the person may experience confusion, excessive thirst, dry mouth, tiredness, headache, and altered breath. In these cases, you should:

  1. Look for an SOS insulin syringe that the person can have for emergencies;
  2. Inject the syringe in the region around the navel or in the upper part of the arm, making a pleat with your fingers, keeping it until the end of the injection, as shown in the image;
  3. If, after 15 minutes, the sugar value remains the same, call medical help immediately, calling 192 or take the person to the hospital;
  4. If the victim is unconscious, but breathing, place him/her in the lateral safety position while waiting for medical help to arrive. Learn how to correctly perform the lateral safety position.

In the event that an emergency insulin syringe is not available, it is recommended to immediately call medical help or take the person to the hospital, so that the appropriate dose of insulin is administered.

Also, if insulin is administered, it is important to keep an eye on the blood sugar value over the next hour, as there is a risk that the value will drop too low if the insulin dose has been higher than necessary. If the value is below 70 mg/dL, it is important to put sugar directly inside the cheeks and under the tongue, so that the value increases and stabilizes.

2. Hypoglycemia - low sugar

When blood sugar levels are low, called hypoglycemia, the device shows blood glucose lower than 70 mg/dL and it is common for the person to show signs such as tremors, cold skin, sweating, paleness or fainting. In these cases, it is important:

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of sugar or 2 packets of sugar inside the cheeks and under the tongue;
  2. If the blood sugar level does not increase or the symptoms do not improve within 10 minutes, the person should be given sugar again;
  3. If after more than 10 minutes the sugar level or the symptoms remain the same, call medical help immediately, calling 192 immediately or take the person to the hospital;
  4. If the person becomes unconscious but breathing, place in the safe lateral position while waiting for medical help. See how to do the safe side position.

When the blood sugar level is low for a long time, it is possible for a person to go into cardiac arrest. Therefore, if you notice that the person is not breathing, call medical help and start cardiac massage quickly.

See how to do cardiac massage correctly.

Other important first aid for diabetics

In addition to more serious situations, such as hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, there are also other first aid measures that are important in everyday situations, which can represent a greater risk of complications for the diabetic, such as having a wound in the skin or twisting the foot, for example.

1. Skin wounds

When the diabetic wound is injured, it is important to take good care of the wound, because even if it is small and superficial, the diabetic wound is more likely to present complications such as ulcers or infections, especially when it happens in more humid places or stuffy like the feet, skin folds or groin, for example.

During treatment, it is important to be careful to avoid infections, by:

  • Use clean towels to dry the affected skin area;
  • Avoid contact with pets;
  • Avoid places with sand or dirt;
  • Avoid tight clothing or shoes over the wound.

Thus, the ideal is to keep the wound always clean, dry and away from situations that could worsen the wound, especially until healing is complete.

In addition to taking care of the wound, it is also essential to be aware of some signs that indicate the development of complications, such as the appearance of redness, swelling, severe pain or pus at the site. In these cases, it is recommended to go to the general practitioner.

On the other hand, when the wound is very small, but takes more than 1 month to heal, it is advisable to go to a nursing consultation to assess the need for a more specialized treatment, with dressings that favor healing.

2. Twisting the foot

If the diabetic sprained his foot or another joint, he should stop physical activity and avoid forcing the affected area, in addition to avoiding walking for a long time and climbing stairs, for example.

Furthermore, keep the foot elevated to promote circulation and place ice on the affected area for 20 minutes, twice a day, remembering to wrap the ice in a damp cloth to avoid burning the skin.

Twisting usually causes swelling and pain, and can make the region hotter and with purple spots. In more severe cases, where there is intense pain and swelling that does not improve, a doctor should be consulted to assess the severity of the injury and check for fracture.

Warning signs to go to the doctor

A doctor should be sought in the following situations:

  • High sugar, with capillary blood glucose greater than 180 mg/dL for more than 1 hour, on an empty stomach, or greater than 250 mg/dL for more than 1 hour, after eating, or when the patient becomes unconscious.
  • Low sugar,with capillary blood glucose below 70 mg/dL for more than 30 minutes, or when the patient is unconscious;
  • Complicated skin wounds, with fever above 38ÂșC; presence of pus in the wound; increased redness, swelling and pain at the site; worsening of the wound healing process, loss of sensation around the wound or tingling, or presence of sweat and chills on the body. These signs indicate that the wound site may be infected, increasing the risk of wound worsening and complications such as ulcers.

In more severe cases, when these signs are ignored and adequate treatment is not performed, the affected tissue may suffer necrosis, which happens when the region does not receive enough oxygen and the tissues die, and it may be necessary to amputate the affected member.

In these cases, medical help should be called quickly, calling 192.

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