Type 1 Diabetes: Understanding Blood Sugar

Understanding blood sugar: The basics for
school staff Checking blood sugar is one of the most important
tasks of managing type 1 diabetes. If you have a student with type 1 diabetes
in your classroom, even for part of the day, it’s important to learn the basics. Students with type 1 diabetes must check their
blood sugar several times a day. This is done either with a glucose meter,
which uses a small drop of blood from a finger, or a continuous glucose monitor, a wearable
device that measures sugar every few minutes and sends the details to a receiver or smart
device. Students should be able to check blood sugar
whenever and wherever they need to. Blood sugar levels guide decisions about treatment,
such as when and how much insulin to give, and when to have a snack. Remember these 4 things about blood sugar: The carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar. Insulin lowers blood sugar. Stress, illness or excitement can raise blood sugar. Physical activity usually lowers blood sugar. A student’s blood sugar level can affect
how they feel. For example: High blood sugar—usually above 15—can
make it hard to concentrate. Low blood sugar—less than 4—can cause
confusion. Low blood sugar must be treated right away
with a fast-acting sugar like juice or candy. It’s not safe to send a student to a different
location or leave them alone if you think their blood sugar is low. If you suspect a low but aren’t able to
check, treat it anyway. Remember, a blood sugar reading is neither
“good” nor “bad”. It’s information that helps a student and
their parents make decisions about diabetes management. Be sure to have a communication system to
share a student’s daily blood sugar levels with their parents or caregivers. Understanding the highs and lows of blood
sugar, and knowing when and how to check it, can help keep kids with type 1 diabetes safe
at school! [children cheering]

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