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Coronavirus and diabetes

Coronavirus and diabetes

Healthcare professionals recommend people with diabetes to follow same safety precautions as observed managing any other sickness if in contact with the virus.

Published: Mar 06, 2020
Category: Looking after yourself

Following the decision by UK Chief Medical Officers to raise the risk to the public from low to moderate we look at how to look after yourself if living with diabetes and at risk of coronavirus.

Although there is no official statement from the NHS on the risk of having the coronavirus (COVID-19) and living with diabetes it is recommended that the same safety precautions are observed as when sick.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways and is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

The NHS does not confirm exactly how the virus is spread, although it can be passed on from person to person.

NHS has issued the following recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

If you need medical help or have  a query regarding the virus, the NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus, have been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days (see NHS coronavirus advice for travellers), or if you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus.

Use the 111 coronavirus service here

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

If there is a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate) for up to 14 days.

Top tips to manage diabetes when you are ill – Summary

  • Produce an illness management plan with your diabetes or usual healthcare team early.
  • Have your flu jab when advised.
  • Avoid dehydration - keep up your fluid intake, get help early if you cannot. Check blood glucose levels every 2-4 hours.
  • Seek help promptly if unable to self-manage your illness, particularly with rising blood glucose levels.
  • Seek medical help urgently if you feel ill, abnormally drowsy, short of breath, have pain or prolonged vomiting.
  • With type 1 diabetes, never stop insulin during acute illness.
  • In type 1 diabetes, test for blood or urine ketones every 2-4 hours and if positive, consider taking additional insulin.
  • Seek help for suspected skin or foot infections early.
(from the DRWF leaflet Managing diabetes when you are ill)
Read more about coronavirus (COVID-19) on the NHS website
Read the DRWF leaflet Managing diabetes when you are ill here
Category: Looking after yourself

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