Do you have people in your congregation with type 2 diabetes? Have you considered creating an emergency kit especially for them? PHW liaison, Dr. Renee Lea-Currie of Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church in Burlington, shared the information below with PHW staff to pass along to you. Thank you, Renee!
I have encountered too many type 2 diabetic family members, friends and visitors at church who neglected to eat sufficient food before attending services (yes, even after taking their morning insulin) which resulted in low blood sugar episodes. This can be a scary event but one for which you can be prepared.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) include the following:
- Shakiness or anxiety
- Pale skin color
- Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no reason
- Clumsy or jerky movements
- Difficulty paying attention or confusion
Most places of worship have a first aid kit but not many have an emergency kit for low blood sugar emergencies. The contents of a Diabetes Emergency Kit (DEK) can be obtained and maintained for less than $10 for a small congregation but is adaptable for a congregation of any size. The kit I put together for Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist consisted of the following items, most of which were purchased from the local Dollar Tree:
- Cooler or container such as plastic shoe box with lid ($1)
- Small boxes of raisins ($1)
- Two packs of 4 oz. apple juice boxes ($1 each)
- Peanut butter crackers (6-pack for $1)
- Glucose tablets – CVS has a dye-free, naturally flavored version (less than $3)
- Hard candy (I prefer Yummy Earth organic lollipops or hard candies. These can be found at health food stores or Whole Foods for under $3.)
In addition to creating a DEK, your congregation could include information about the emergency kit in your church bulletin and train your ushers and faith community nurses to recognize medical alert bracelets and signs of low blood sugar distress. Also, please note that the international symbol for diabetes is the blue circle, as depicted on the label in the picture.
For more information or to share your experiences with creating a DEK for your church, please contact Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org.