Hyperglycaemia - First Aid Leaflet

This leaflet is created from first aid advice provided by St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity. This advice is no substitute for first aid training - find a training course near you.

High blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) over a long period can result in unconsciousness. Usually the person will drift into this state over a few days. Hyperglycaemia requires urgent treatment in hospital.


  • Warm, dry skin.
  • Rapid pulse and breathing.
  • Fruity/sweet breath.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • If untreated, drowsiness, then unconsciousness.


Your aim is to arrange urgent removal of the person to hospital.

  • Dial 999/112 for an ambulance.
  • Monitor the level of response and look for any other possible causes.

If the person is unconscious:

  • Open the airway and check breathing (primary survey).
  • Give chest compressions and rescue breaths if necessary.
  • If the patient loses consciousness but is still breathing normally place them in the recovery position.
  • Dial 999/112 for an ambulance.
  • Monitor and record the levels of response, pulse and breathing.

Note: these hints are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid. St John Ambulance holds first aid courses throughout the country.

This leaflet was taken from the St John Ambulance website: hyperglycaemia. Copyright for this leaflet is with St John Ambulance.