Maple to the Rescue
Under Vermont EMS protocol, Maple Syrup is approved to treat diabetic emergencies. Many of Vermont’s rescue squads have seen the ease of treatment that an UnTapped packet offers and keep them on the trucks for when the moment arises.
We recently had the chance to sit down with a local organization who is using UnTapped in this lesser known way. Richmond Rescue is a local, private, non-profit that serves the town of Richmond Vermont, and surrounding rural areas. Alex Knakal, a paramedic on their team, was generous enough with his time to sit down and answer a few questions to enlighten us on the uses of UnTapped past athletic nutrition.
When did you first realize that UnTapped could be used for diabetic response?
In the past we used glucose tablets or flavored gels that were a quick shot of sugar. The State Department was looking for alternatives, and being Vermont they gravitated towards maple syrup. Maple syrup is an immediate fast-acting sugar that can flip around someone's blood sugar while they are having a low. The State Department realized this, and the wide availability of maple syrup here in Vermont made it the perfect option for an all-natural alternative. Also providing the opportunity to support local businesses, and provide the patient with better tasting, more enjoyable care just made sense!
Of course patients are in a state of emergency when you respond, but does anyone notice they are being served maple syrup?
All of the people that I have given it to have mentioned something about how they are being treated with maple syrup. People find it very fascinating that maple syrup is being used in emergency medicine.
What makes maple syrup beneficial in the treatment of a diabetic emergency?
Maple syrup is loaded with sugar that is easily absorbed by the body. This absorption can start as soon as it comes in contact with the mouth, then the stomach absorbs the rest. Similar to the way that UnTapped is used in an athletic setting, we are using it as a quick energy source for these patients that are experiencing a low blood sugar episode.
Have you noticed a difference, positive or negative, to using UnTapped as compared to glucose tablets?
I have not seen any significant differences in the effectiveness of UnTapped compared to traditional treatment options, other than it possibly being quicker to ingest and easier for patients to take on board. They also simply enjoy it more. Using do notice that with traditional gels patients having a sick feeling afterward, whereas with UnTapped we have not seen that happen. Mainly, we see a big impact on the morale boost a more natural option provides our patients. Overall, we have noticed a difference in patient comfort, not medical effectiveness.
To wrap up, can you pass on a specific experience where UnTapped has provided the quick response needed to treat a diabetic emergency?
Last summer we had a local call we responded too, where a person had been active all-day and returned back to town to get drinks with friends. During this outing, they had stood up too quickly and fainted. The patient had likely not eaten or drunk enough during the day, coupled with having a few drinks of alcohol and standing up too quickly, their blood pressure had dropped. We realized that it was actually a diabetic issue. Where she may not have been diagnosed, her blood sugar was low from the day's activities. After we had checked to see her blood sugar levels and determined them to be below the low point of our protocols, we administered an UnTapped packet. This patient was surprised by the way that we were able to use Maple UnTapped in a medicinal way, and how quickly it was able to turn them around to allow a continued night of fun.