Why: Checking blood sugar is one of the most important tasks of managing type 1 diabetes.
Blood sugar levels guide decisions about treatment, such as when and how much insulin to give, and when a student needs a snack.
Communicating the results of routine and extra blood sugar checks from the school back to the parents is also important. If there is a pattern of blood sugars outside the target range for a few days, parents may need to adjust the student’s insulin dose.
When: Students will typically check blood sugar before meals (always) and before snacks (sometimes), before and/or after physical activity, and when they feel symptoms of low blood sugar or high blood sugar. A student’s Individual Care Plan will provide more details.
Where: Students should be able to check blood sugar wherever they are, especially if they have symptoms of low blood sugar.
It is not safe to send a student to a different location or leave them alone if they have a suspected low blood sugar.
If a student feels low, and you are unable to check blood sugar on the spot, treat as if the student is low.
How: Some students can check their blood sugar on their own. Others will need supervision, or someone to do it for them.
Here is a general guide to the steps involved in checking blood sugar. Because there are many different meters available, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the student’s meter. Designated staff who provide support to a student with type 1 diabetes should be trained on the student’s meter.
Some students use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), a device that automatically provides readings every 5 minutes, day and night. A sensor is inserted underneath the skin, where it measures “interstitial glucose”, or the glucose found in the fluid between cells. The sensor sends this information wirelessly to a monitor.
The monitor may be on a student’s insulin pump, or it may be a separate device that the student keeps in a backpack, pocket or somewhere else nearby. Not all students who use a CGM will have an insulin pump.
A CGM does not replace traditional BG checking. Fingerpricks are still needed at least twice a day to calibrate the CGM, and are recommended before meals to guide insulin dosing, and to confirm any alerts that require treatment. If the CGM and meter results differ, the meter BG is considered the most reliable.
If a student uses a CGM, more detailed instructions will be provided in the Individual Care Plan.
Last updated: April, 2018