Hypoglycemia, commonly known as low blood sugar, is a potentially serious condition in which the body’s glucose levels periodically drop, resulting in a range of symptoms such as shakiness, faintness, sweating, irritability, headache, disorientation, and in extreme cases, seizure. Low blood sugar in children can be especially dangerous, as they often cannot treat or even identify the source of their discomfort. Thus as a caregiver, you must manage low blood sugar in children by supervising their diets, regularly testing their blood sugar, watching for symptoms, and being ready to respond with a quick source of sugar. In addition, you should make sure your child’s blood sugar needs are met away from home by ensuring that teachers and coaches know how to respond to low blood sugar episodes.
Whether your child’s hypoglycemia is an independent condition or a symptom of an underlying illness such as diabetes, episodes of low blood sugar can often be prevented by ensuring that he eats regular, nutritionally balanced meals. Proper nutrition can encourage the blood’s glucose levels to remain steady. In addition, the blood sugar of diabetic children should be regularly tested using the method directed by the child’s physician. Testing the blood sugar will alert you of low glucose levels early, allowing you to correct those levels before symptoms emerge.
Even with the most vigilant care, low blood sugar in children can produce episodes as often as twice a week. Young children may not be able to alert you to their symptoms, so you must be able to quickly identify and treat an episode. Common warning signs include paleness, shakiness, crankiness, and disorientation that occur suddenly. To quickly treat low blood sugar, you should give the child a sugar source that will quickly work to raise his glucose levels. Good sources include fruit juice, hard candy, milk, and white table sugar.
Once you are aware of the risks of low blood sugar in children, you may find it stressful or frightening to allow a hypoglycemic child to leave your supervision. The best way to ensure that both your hypoglycemic child and you can be worry-free is to talk to his teachers, coaches, and any other adults who may supervise him while he is away from your care. Explain your child’s condition, and make sure that those adults can identify symptoms of a hypoglycemic episode. You may wish to supply those adults with candies, non-perishable juice boxes, or some other form of sugar which can be kept on hand and quickly given to your child in the event of an episode.