COVID-19 outbreak: guidance for people with diabetes
By now there are very few of us that are not aware of the COVID-19 pandemic in which we currently find ourselves. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a public health emergency of international concern and that means we all have to pay attention to the advice we are being given. Hopefully everyone is following the general advice regarding washing your hands and social distancing but for those with diabetes, there are extra precautions that should be taken. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has made the following recommendations, in addition to the more general advice.
If you have diabetes:
- Prepare in case you get ill.
- Make sure you have all relevant contact details to hand in case you need them.
- Pay extra attention to your glucose control.
- If you do show flu-like symptoms (raised temperature, cough, difficulty breathing), it is important to consult a healthcare professional. If you are coughing up phlegm, this may indicate an infection so you should seek medical support and treatment immediately.
- Any infection is going to raise your glucose levels and increase your need for fluids, so make sure you can access a sufficient supply of water.
- Make sure you have a good supply of the diabetes medications you need. Think what you would need if you had to quarantine yourself for a few weeks.
- Make sure you have access to enough food.
- Practice regular physical activity.
- Make sure you will be able to correct the situation if your blood glucose drops suddenly.
- If you live alone, make sure someone you can rely on knows you have diabetes as you may require assistance if you get ill.
Please also stay in touch with your national diabetes association as this advice may be slightly different dependent upon your location and the progression of the spread of COVID-19. Most importantly make sure that you look after yourselves and your loved ones.