Special emergency packs for treating hypoglycaemia (hypos) will be available for free in schools and other community venues across Guernsey from this month thanks to local charity Diabetes Guernsey.
Hypoglycaemia is when blood sugar levels drop to a dangerous level and can result in people feeling dizzy and faint, having seizures and even becoming unconscious. It mainly affects those with diabetes and usually happens when the balance between medication, food and exercise isn’t quite right.
Hypos need to be treated quickly, normally by eating or drinking fast-acting carbohydrates (e.g.. fruit juice, sugary drinks, jelly babies, glucose tablets, etc.) followed by slow-acting carbohydrates (e.g.. fruit, toast, cereal, etc.) to stop your blood sugar levels dropping again.
Diabetes Guernsey Chairman, Matt Ferguson, said: “We’ve all had times when we’ve been caught out. Perhaps you’ve popped out for a couple of minutes and it’s turned into a few hours or you haven’t eaten enough before exercising. There are lots of reasons why people with diabetes suffer from hypos but the main thing is to catch it fast. That’s why we’re making these Hypo Wallets available at schools across the Bailiwick as well as other venues such as sports clubs and community halls – so people of all ages can access the treatment they need quickly.”
The Hypo Wallets contain glucose tablets, a syrup and two tubes of glucose gel. Matt said: “One of our members came across the packs in Southampton and wondered why they weren’t available in Guernsey. So we decided to make them available here too by paying for local schools and venues to stock them. The public health system is very good at treating and caring for islanders with diabetes but our role at Diabetes Guernsey is to provide a support network to complement that and to help people with these kinds of day-to-day issues.”
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s not known exactly how many people in Guernsey are living with diabetes, but the rates are understood to be similar to the UK where more than five million are now living with the condition with the number increasing year on year. In Guernsey, that’s equivalent to nearly five thousand, with many still undiagnosed.
A full list of community venues holding the Hypo Wallets is available from the charity. Any venues that want to take part in the scheme can contact the charity directly.