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Diabetes self-care in public places

Position statement

When in public places, people with diabetes must be allowed to do what is necessary to prevent or treat hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, including:

  • self-monitor blood glucose levels;
  • administer insulin;
  • carry a food and beverage supply; and
  • consume food and beverages.

People with diabetes are responsible for disposing of sharps and related materials in the safest possible manner.


Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG): performed by piercing the skin to obtain a drop of blood to place on a test strip that is inserted into a meter. The meter then provides a measurement of the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood

Hypoglycemia: low blood glucose

Hyperglycemia: high blood glucose

Sharps: syringes, needles and lancets

Background and rationale

As part of their self-care, people with diabetes need to be able to test their blood glucose levels, often several times a day, to obtain information necessary for making appropriate adjustments to diet, activity and medications (including insulin). Regular blood glucose testing is critical to avoid and/or identify either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, conditions which may require immediate treatment.

The treatment of mild to moderate hypoglycemia includes consuming food or drink containing carbohydrate (i.e. sugar). People with diabetes must immediately treat hypoglycemia in order to prevent more serious reactions.

People with diabetes who use insulin may be required to administer it several times a day by various devices including syringe, insulin pen or pump.

It is important that everyone using sharps work with and dispose of them safely and responsibly.

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