September is Hypoglycemia Awareness Month
Because one day is not enough to raise awareness of hypoglycemia in all corners of the world. This will be an ongoing effort as diabetes continues to be diagnosed at break-neck speed. This special month of the year is a perfect time for children to have prescriptions for glucagon, insulins, and all the other diabetes supplies renewed. It is a time for conferences with the school nurse, teachers and coaches about the specific needs of a t1 student. It is a time when many school age children need a physical for sports or a new school. Adults have a nostalgic feeling from childhood that it is time for a new pair of shoes. A new “school year” begins in September: everyone is finally back at work from summer vacations, so decisions can finally get made. May the annual budget planning commence! September has the added benefit of being “Honey Month.” What better industry to share an awareness month with “Ha!”
I squirm at the thought of my diabetes sisters and brothers being out and about town, alone, in public, potentially in harm’s way, without enough of anything to treat severe hypoglycemia. A friend with t1 here in NYC that I met through my Meet Up for Hypoglycemia Awareness made a comment that lingers with me:
“My greatest fear is to be on the subway begging strangers for candy.” -anonymous New Yorker with t1
Begging for candy from strangers…. It strikes me that a passenger asking strangers on the train for candy might easily be misconstrued as a homeless or mentally ill. These needy folks are ignored by New Yorkers who are wearing Beats or otherwise deaf to pleas for help. If the PWD (person with diabetes) was already beyond the point of being intelligible, speaking in broken phrases, shaking and sweating, it may not be possible to go into the “I have diabetes and my blood sugar is dropping. I need something sugary.” There usually isn’t time for a lesson from “Hypoglycemia 101” when insulin peaks without enough glucose available.
With “Ha!” and Hypoglycemia Awareness Month, we would like to raise the level of general awareness for hypoglycemia as we already have for an allergic reaction treated with an EpiPen to rescue someone experiencing a reaction to a bee sting.
Giving a fellow passenger candy if he asks, without being able to enunciate a reason for it may save the day for you and everyone else on their way to work in that train. How do we achieve that level of common knowledge? The most effective ways may be for employers and municipalities to incorporate it into their training and posting it, as for CPR. Public service announcements in the media are another way to reach a wide audience, as well as well-placed messages on billboards, buses, subways, radio, TV, social media
“Ha!” now offers people with diabetes a practical and, eventually, universal way to own and minimize their risk for hypoglycemia. Place a sticker of our icon of a magenta “G” on the pocket of your backpack or purse or briefcase that holds your preferred method(s) of oral treatment, as well as a glucagon emergency kit. You can train your family, friends, coworkers, physical trainers, coaches, teachers, neighbors, bartenders of your personal Cheers, bridge club and fellow church members; in short, the people who are around you all the time, to look for the G when you are having a low blood sugar and are in need of glucose .
Please share your questions, ideas and suggestions with me. Thank you for your time and kind consideration,