Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Treating Low Blood Sugar

Treating Low Blood Sugar

Overview

Follow these steps when your blood sugar level is below your target range (usually below 70 mg/dL). Share treatment instructions with your partner, coworkers, and friends. They can help if you are too weak or confused to treat your low blood sugar.

  • Be alert for low blood sugar.
    • Check your blood sugar often and anytime you think it may be low.
    • Notice if you have symptoms of low blood sugar. These include sweating, trembling, trouble concentrating, lightheadedness, confusion, and lack of coordination. Be aware that you may not always have the same symptoms.
  • Use the "rule of 15" when you have low blood sugar.
    • Eat about 15 grams of carbohydrate from quick-sugar food, such as glucose tablets, hard candy, or fruit juice. Liquids will raise your blood sugar faster than solid foods.
    • Children usually need less than 15 grams of carbohydrate. Check with your doctor or diabetes educator for the amount that is right for your child.
    • Foods that have 15 grams of carbohydrate include:
      • 3 to 4 glucose tablets.
      • 1 tablespoon table sugar.
      • 1 tablespoon honey.
      • ½ to ¾ cup (4 to 6 ounces) of fruit juice or regular (not diet) soda pop.
      • Hard candy (such as 6 Life Savers).
    • Wait about 15 minutes after you eat the 15 grams of carbohydrate. Check your blood sugar level again.
    • If your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrate from quick-sugar food.
    • Repeat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate every 15 minutes until your blood sugar is in a safe target range, such as 70 mg/dL or higher.
    • When your blood sugar returns to your target range, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than a few hours away.
  • Know when to get help.

    Get help right away if your blood sugar stays below 70 mg/dL or you are getting more sleepy and less alert. If you can, have someone stay with you until your blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL or until emergency help arrives.

Information for family, friends, and others

If you have low blood sugar, share this with others. If your child has diabetes, give this to teachers, coaches, and other school staff.

While many adults use 15 grams of carbohydrate, children usually need less. Check with your doctor or diabetes educator for the amount that is right for your child before giving this handout to family and friends.

Use the following information to help someone who is too weak or confused to treat their low blood sugar. If the person takes medicine that can cause low blood sugar, stay with the person for a few hours after their blood sugar level has returned to the target range.

  • Make sure the person can swallow.
    • If the person is lying down, lift their head so it will be easier for them to swallow.
    • Give the person 0.5 tsp (2.5 mL) of water to swallow.
  • If the person can swallow the water without choking or coughing:
    • Give the person about 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate, such as 4 fl oz (118 mL) to 6 fl oz (177 mL) of fruit juice or sweetened (not sugar-free) soda pop.
    • Wait about 15 minutes.
    • If a blood sugar meter is available, check the person's blood sugar level.
    • Give the person another 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate if they are feeling better but still have some symptoms of low blood sugar. These include sweating, trembling, and confusion.
    • Wait about 15 minutes. If you can, check the blood sugar level again.
    • If the person becomes more sleepy or sluggish, call 911 or other emergency services.
    • Stay with the person until their blood sugar level is 70 mg/dL or higher or until emergency help comes.
  • If the person chokes or coughs on the water, or if the person is unconscious:
    • Do not try to give the person foods or liquids. Those things could be inhaled. This is dangerous.
    • Turn the person on their side, and make sure their airway is not blocked.
    • Prepare the glucagon and give it as directed (if the person has a glucagon kit). It may be given as a shot or nasal spray.
    • After you give the glucagon, immediately call 911 for emergency care.
    • If emergency help has not arrived within 15 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another dose of glucagon.
    • Stay with the person until emergency help comes.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Gestational Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Medicines Gestational Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) in People Without Diabetes

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details