A person with diabetes may need your help if their blood sugar level drops too low. Most people with diabetes manage their condition by eating a special diet, taking pills, or having insulin injections. Sometimes their sugar level drops too low, and their body runs out of energy. If they don’t get help quickly it can be serious.

Quick help 

Call 111 for an ambulance if: 

  • The person is unresponsive or unconscious
  • The person does not feel better after eating sugary food or drink

If the person is conscious, check they are happy for you to touch them before you give first aid. If the person is unconscious and you need to check for injuries or give lifesaving first aid, then don’t delay. 


What to look for 

Confusion: The person seems confused and can’t do simple things.

Tiredness: The person is very tired and can’t concentrate.

Dizziness: The person is dizzy and might faint. 

Argumentative: The person is moody and bad-tempered. 

Headache: They have a headache that won’t go away. 

Sweating: They have a pale face or are very sweaty.

Seems drunk: The person is unsteady and seems drunk.

Unconscious: The person has collapsed and passed out. 

How you can help

If the person is unresponsive and breathing normally:

  • DO NOT try to give the person insulin – that can be dangerous.

  • Lay the person on their side and tilt their chin up with their mouth towards the ground (this is the recovery position).

  • Call 111 for an ambulance.
  • Stay with them and check their breathing until the ambulance arrives.

If the person is conscious:

  • DO NOT try to give the person insulin – that can be dangerous.

  • Give them some sugar, e.g, chocolate, a lolly, or a sweet drink (not ‘diet’ or 'sugar-free').
  • When they are more awake offer them some carbohydrates, e.g. a sandwich or some sweet biscuits. 
  • Keep giving them reassurance and comfort. They may be confused until they’re fully recovered. 
  • See a doctor. Even if the person gets better after eating sweets and carbs, advise them to see a doctor because their condition could get worse. 


If you have a person in urgent need of medical attention, call 111 now.  


Take a First Aid CourseBuy a St John first aid KitBuy the St John first aid BookTXT 111