First Aid Certificate Training and Courses



Diabetes is a condition which is caused by an imbalance of insulin resulting in high or low sugar levels in the blood. Because all human cells require sugars as food, the body takes in complex sugars in a normal diet.
Diabetic emergencies appear in two forms:
1. High blood sugar or hyperglycaemia
Hyperglycaemia is an imbalance of blood sugar which usually requires the affected person to supplement their insulin requirements. A casualty who is unable to obtain this supplement is liable to collapse into a serious state called a diabetic coma. This condition is less common and has a slower onset than low blood sugar. Not all diabetics are dependent on supplementary insulin, and many live normally on a controlled diet. Common causes of high blood sugar include insufficient insulin, large intake of foods high in carbohydrates, stress, infection, illness, other medications.
2. Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia a dramatic imbalance where the tissues, especially the brain cells, become starved of essential blood sugar. This condition is more common and especially dangerous as its onset is rapid.


Excessive thirst.

Drowsiness, feeling of being very tired.

Frequent need to urinate and large volumes of urine.

Hot, dry skin.


Blurred vision.

Smell of acetone (nail polish remover) on the breath.


If unsure if the casualty has low or high blood sugar always treat for low blood sugar.

High blood sugar requires immediate expert medical treatment – call 000 for an ambulance urgently.


Confused or aggressive.


Slurred speech.


Profuse sweating.

Tingling around the mouth and lips.

Rapid pulse.

Shaking or seizures.

Tiredness or weakness.


Call 000 for an ambulance.

If conscious give the casualty:

  • 150mls of sweet drink OR
  • 2 – 4 teaspoons of sugar or honey OR
  • 5 – 7 jelly beans.

Repeat if casualty does not improve after 5 – 10 minutes.

On recovery and once the casualty is alert; encourage them to eat foods high in carbohydrates e.g. 2 – 4 dry biscuits, a sandwich, a glass of milk.

If unconscious but breathing normally place casualty on their side in the recovery position and monitor their airway, breathing and circulation.

DO NOT attempt to give a casualty an insulin injection unless you are trained to do so.

DO NOT give the casualty anything by mouth if unconscious, this may block the airway.

DO NOT give the casualty a diet drink, it has no sugar value and will not assist.

For further information on diabetes contact:
Diabetes Australia
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