Treatment of hypoglycaemia in severely malnourished children
Hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar – is a common complication in severely malnourished children. Since hypoglycaemia can rapidly lead to brain damage and death, WHO recommends immediate treatment if hypoglycaemia is suspected.
If the hypoglycaemic child is conscious and able to drink, WHO recommends giving glucose or sucrose followed by small and frequent carbohydrate-based feedings. If the child is unconscious, glucose should first be given intravenously, followed by glucose or sucrose by nasogastric tube. When the child regains consciousness, small and frequent carbohydrate-based feedings should start.
In all cases, WHO recommends giving broad-spectrum antimicrobials to treat serious systemic infection.
Status: not currently available
Other guidance documents
Pocket book of hospital care for children: guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources
Management of the child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries
Management of severe malnutrition: a manual for physicians and other senior health workers