Did you know that there are over 3.5 million people with Diabetes in the UK and it is estimated that half a million of those do not know that they have the condition?

Diabetes is a medical condition where someone is unable to control the blood sugar (glucose) levels in their body. This is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar.

On a standard First Aid Course, we cover most eventualities that you may be faced with in the real world. Courses that last more than one day usually cover diabetes, but shorter courses are prioritised to focus on immediately life threatening and life changing emergencies.

When you’re learning to drive a car you need to have a grasp on the theory knowledge in order to gain a solid understanding. You also need some practice in order to gain more confidence  it is the same with First Aid Training.

Theory eLearning can never replace the practical elements of our first aid courses, or the ability to ask questions and share stories with our first aid instructors. But, if we can raise awareness and teach you some basics (or refresh your skills) from the comfort of your own home or office, then that’s great!

Please feel free to share this eCourse with your workplace colleagues or friends. Everyone that completes will get a certificate to download at the end of the course!

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Guide time to complete: 15 minutes

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Read our main points below:

Recognising Diabetes

Often people do not realise that they have diabetes and, because of this, their blood sugar can reach dangerously high levels. We call this hyperglycaemia. As a first aider you are not likely to recognise undiagnosed diabetes, due to the nature of the signs and symptoms. However if you recognise the symptoms in yourself, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Possible Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycaemia)

  • Sweet smelling breath (sometime described as being similar to nail varnish remover or pear drop sweets)
  • Increased thirst & dry mouth
  • Excess urination (especially at night)
  • ‘Sweet smelling’ urine
  • Tired and lethargic
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, cystitis or bladder infections

When someone has been diagnosed as a diabetic, their blood sugar levels can often be controlled with medication, diet and exercise.

The difficulty is that if someone is taking a set amount of insulin, their blood sugar level may actually drop too low, for example if they have skipped a meal, or have been more physically active than usual.

As a first aider, this is the more likely situation that you would recognise.

So what do we look out for?

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycaemia)

  • Irritable, sometime aggressive behaviour
  • Drunken like behaviour, slurred speech, uncooperative
  • Shaking
  • Tingling lips
  • Fast Pulse & palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dizzy, weak, tired, confused
  • Lowered levels of response, or unconsciousness

Treatment of Low Blood Sugar

  • Sit the casualty down in a quiet place
  • The casualty could take glucose tablets, drinks or gels. If not available a handful of sweets, or a sweet drink such as, cola (not diet).
  • If their level of consciousness is low, glucose gel, honey or jam could be massaged onto the inside of their cheeks.
  • If improvement seen, give more to eat and drink, but avoid fatty foods such as chocolate or milk.
  • If there is little or no improvement or the person is aggressive call an ambulance
  • If the casualty becomes unconscious, use your emergency plan, checking the airway and breathing and following the steps of your plan as appropriate

When attending one of our courses, you’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on and practice these life saving skills in a relaxed and friendly environment. We do this to maximise your confidence and productivity!



Richard - Founder & CEO

Richard is the Founder & CEO at SkillBase First Aid


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Covid-19 UpdateAs an essential training provider, we want you to know that all our courses have been, and will continue to run unless we contact you otherwise!

We live and breathe health, safety, risk and wellbeing here at SkillBase, and the safety of all our delegates and our trainers are of paramount importance. With support from the HSE in their latest policy update (15/01/21) stating first aid training can continue to take place under relevant coronavirus restrictions, we continue to work extremely hard to ensure rigorous Covid-secure protocols are in place.