Diabetic & Me

Diabetics and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has dominated news coverage over the past few weeks. Even today there is still a lot of confusing information about this virus. We have listed the most important questions and answers for you.

1. What is the coronavirus and how do I know if I have been infected?

COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus that has never been detected in humans before. The outbreak started in Wuhan (China). Since then, various infections have been diagnosed worldwide. Coronavirus symptoms range from mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The elderly and people with existing chronic conditions seem more vulnerable to complications and even death.

2. As a person with diabetes, am I at higher risk of becoming infected with the virus?

No. People with diabetes are just as likely to be infected as people without diabetes. It is true that diabetes makes you more vulnerable to the complications that the virus causes. The same risks and measures apply to children with diabetes as to children without diabetes. 

3. What are the consequences if I become infected with the Coronavirus as a diabetic?

The complaints of the coronavirus (cough, fever, …) are the same for everyone. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of serious consequences. This mainly concerns people with diabetes with difficult glucose regulation, or people who already have a weakened immune system due to an existing condition / complication. Older people are also more vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

4. Can I die from the virus because of my diabetes?

Diabetics belongs to a risk group, which means that as a person with diabetes you have a higher chance of dying from an infection. As mentioned above, a difficult glucose regulation and a weakened immune system will also increase the chance of complications and therefore mortality. It is not possible to make a statement about the mortality rate for a person without a chronic condition, given the other factors that play a role, such as age, own immunity, … The advice is mainly aimed at avoiding infection and dysregulated blood sugar levels.

Do you have diabetes and are you infected with the coronavirus? Then keep the following points in mind:

  • Be prepared in case you get sick.
  • Have all relevant contact information at hand (doctors, educators, …) in case you need them.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Check your blood sugar more often.
  • Check your temperature and take medication advised by your doctor.
  • Do you use insulin and do you have high blood sugar? Then regularly check the ketones in your blood.
  • Make sure you have enough diabetes medication or care material in case you should be quarantined. If you live alone, make sure someone you can trust knows you have diabetes.

5. What can I do as a person with diabetes to prevent infection?

Follow the guidelines drawn up by the Federal Public Service of Public Health to prevent contamination.

  • Definitely: wash your hands regularly and thoroughly (40 to 60 sec.) With soap and water.
  • Do you have to cough? Put it in a tissue or on the inside of your elbow.
  • Use paper tissues when sneezing or blowing and throw them away in a lockable bin.
  • Avoid giving hands and kisses.
  • Definitely stay home if you are ill.
  • Don’t go to work!
  • Avoid close contact with sick persons yourself.
  • Try to avoid touching your face with your hands as much as possible.
Advice for stopping virus spread

© Source: NHS/BBC

To prevent the virus from spreading, the government requires everyone to work from home if possible. Is this not possible for the job you perform? Then talk to your employer and discuss which precautions or exceptions can be taken. Is there possibly a medical reason why you cannot go to work, are you sick yourself or did you come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus? Then contact your doctor as soon as possible by telephone.

6. When should I, as a person with diabetes, contact a doctor?

Contact your doctor if you have a fever and respiratory complaints (such as coughing and shortness of breath) or if you are in contact with a patient with the coronavirus or if there is someone in your vicinity who has been ill and who has been in a country with the coronavirus, then call the doctor and list your symptoms and contacts. Your general practitioner can assess, based on a procedure, which persons should be tested for a coronavirus test and, if necessary, can refer you to the hospital if coronavirus is suspected.

If you weren’t in close contact with a corona patient, don’t worry right away. This can be a normal flu. Contact your doctor for this.

7. My diabetes is not well controlled, should I be concerned?

Increased blood sugar can interfere with the functioning of the immune system. Try to keep your blood sugar level as stable as possible and measure your blood sugar more often. With dysregulated blood sugar values, the disease can be more difficult. This applies to all viruses and not only to the corona virus.

8. The below visual map shows the Coronavirus worldwide

 

If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below or contact us via Twitter.

More information around the Coronavirus can be found on the Covid Pages, a directory of resources aiming to help solve the global pandemic.



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About the author

Ely is the founder of Diabetic & Me. He's a diabetic type 1 since 1996 having an insuline pump and CGM treatment. He believe's in a community where he can bring people with diabetes together where they can share their experiences, read about others, discover diabetic friendly places and more.

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