A Simple Rule for Treating Low Blood Sugar

This information explains how to quickly treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Signs of Low Blood sugar

  • Feeling faint
  • Problems seeing
  • A headache
  • Shakiness
  • Too much sweating
  • A fast, forceful heartbeat

If you faint or become unconscious, someone must call 911 for an ambulance. Please tell your family and friends about low blood sugar and what to do if you feel faint.

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How to Treat Low Blood Sugar

If your blood sugar is below 70 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) and you’re awake and alert, follow the rule of 15/15:

  • Take 15 grams of sugar.
  • Wait 15 minutes, then retest your blood sugar.


Take 15 grams of sugar

Choose 1 of these options:

  • Drink 4 ounces of fruit juice or regular soda (not diet soda)
  • Drink 8 ounces of milk
  • Eat 4 large marshmallows
  • Chew 6 to 8 Life Savers® (not mints)
  • Chew 3 to 4 large glucose tabs

Do not eat chocolate or cookies when your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL.

Wait 15 minutes then retest your blood sugar

Retest your blood sugar 15 minutes after eating 15 grams of sugar.

If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL when you retest, take another 15 grams of sugar. Retest 15 minutes later. Keep doing this until your blood sugar rises to 70 mg/dL or more.

When your blood sugar rises to 70 mg/dL or more, eat half of a sandwich and drink 4 ounces of milk or have your meal.

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Talk With Your Healthcare Provider

When you feel better, call your healthcare provider. They may need to change your insulin or medication.

Try to figure out why your blood sugar was low. Ask yourself:

  • Did I have too little food?
  • Did I take too much insulin?
  • Did I take my diabetes medication without eating?
  • Did I get too much physical activity without eating enough?

One way to prevent low blood sugar is to avoid skipping meals. Speak with your healthcare provider about your diabetes management plan.

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