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How to Give a Glucagon Shot: Care Instructions

People with diabetes sometimes get very low blood glucose (sugar). If they can't safely eat or drink, they need glucagon right away. This raises the blood glucose quickly. Glucagon can be given as a shot or a nasal spray. You may need to give this to someone during a low blood glucose emergency.

A glucagon kit has a syringe that contains liquid. The kit also has a bottle that contains the medicine, which is a powder.

Follow the instructions in the kit to mix the powder and the liquid. Put this mixture back into the syringe. Follow the directions on the package for how much medicine to give.

Choose the injection site. Choose a clean area on the buttock, upper arm, or thigh where you will give the injection (shot).

Insert the needle. Keeping your fingers off the plunger, hold the syringe like a pencil close to the site. Then insert the needle.

Give the injection. Push the plunger of the syringe all the way in so the medicine goes in the body. Remove the needle from the skin slowly. Use the same angle you used to put it in.

Turn the person on their side after giving the shot. This can keep them from choking if they vomit.

Call for emergency help. After you give the glucagon shot, call 911 or other emergency services. If help has not arrived within 15 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another glucagon shot.

Give glucose tablets or quick-sugar food. Give some glucose tablets or quick-sugar food such as hard candy or juice when the person is alert and able to swallow. Also give them some long-acting source of carbohydrate such as crackers and cheese. Stay with the person until emergency help arrives.

Anytime a person who has diabetes gets glucagon, they should talk to a doctor to try to find out what caused the low blood glucose.

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