Advice for Diabetics related to COVID-19

Precautions – a must as diabetics are immune-compromised

If you have diabetes, you are more likely at an increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to present government guidance, you should be particularly careful in following social distancing measures, including significantly limiting face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.

People with diabetes should take particular precautions with respect to COVID-19, as they already have a slightly immuno- compromised state.

What can be done?

Like everyone else, it is vital to practice good hygiene, especially frequent washing of hands with soap and water and also with a sanitizer, especially in a health care setting. If you know someone has a cough, cold, or fever, it is better to avoid contact with them. Any infection is likely to increase blood sugar levels and uncontrolled diabetes can further lead to worsening of the infection. So following special precautions are important.

Special precautions

  • It is important to keep your blood sugar under good control.
  • Increased testing of the blood glucose levels with a glucometer or Continuous Glucose Monitoring may be necessary. If blood sugar levels are found to be very high, consult the doctor and bring your sugar levels under good control as quickly as possible.
  • Maintain good glycemic control, because it might help in reducing the risk of infection and the severity of COVID-19.
  • In addition, getting adequate nutrition, exercising, and being current with vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia must be followed. This reduces the risk of secondary bacterial pneumonia after a respiratory viral infection.
  • In regard to nutrition, adequate protein intake is important and any deficiencies of minerals and vitamins need to be taken care of.  Likewise, exercise is known to improve immunity and should continue.

Follow the general preventive measures:

  • Regular and thorough handwashing with soap and water
  • Practicing good respiratory hygiene by sneezing and coughing into a bent elbow or a facial tissue
  • Avoiding contact with the person who is infected

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports on a higher case-fatality rate among those with pre-existing conditions:

  • 5.6 percent for cancer
  • 6.0 percent for hypertension
  • 6.3 percent for chronic respiratory disease
  • 7.3 percent for diabetes
  • 10.5 percent for cardiovascular disease

After Diagnosis

If patients with diabetes develop COVID-19, then home management may still be possible –

  • Maintaining hydration
  • Managing symptoms with acetaminophen and steam inhalation
  • Home isolation for 14 days or until the symptoms resolve
  • In the event of hyperglycemia with fever in patients with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose and urinary ketones should be monitored often.
  • Frequent changes in dosage and correctional bolus may be required to maintain normoglycemia


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