COVID-19 Notice & Update
During this difficult time, we are currently seeing patients and taking every precaution for the safety of our patients and staff. Please call our office for an appointment, Televisits are available.
Q: Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?
People with diabetes are not more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. The problem people with diabetes face is primarily a problem of worse outcomes, not greater chance of contracting the virus. In China, where most cases have occurred so far, people with diabetes had much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes—and generally we believe that the more health conditions someone has (for example, diabetes and heart disease), the higher their chance of getting serious complications from COVID-19. While the death toll is likely to rise as the virus spreads, we expect the death rate—the number of people who die from the virus as a percentage of the total number of people who contract the virus—to go down as we get better at detecting and treating this specific virus.
Q: Do people with diabetes have a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19?
People with diabetes do face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus. If diabetes is well-managed, the risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is about the same as the general population.
When people with diabetes do not manage their diabetes well and experience fluctuating blood sugars, they are generally at risk for a number of diabetes-related complications. Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.
Viral infections can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes. This is also caused by above-target blood sugars, and both could contribute to more severe complications.
When sick with a viral infection, people with diabetes do face an increased risk of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), commonly experienced by people with type 1 diabetes. DKA can make it challenging to manage your fluid intake and electrolyte levels—which is important in managing sepsis. Sepsis and septic shock are some of the more serious complications that some people with COVID-19 have experienced.
If you do get sick, know what to do:
If you feel like you are developing symptoms, be sure to call your doctor.
Here are some common tips, which may vary for each person:
- Drink lots of fluids. If you’re having trouble keeping water down, have small sips every 15 minutes or so throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
- If you are experiencing a low (blood sugar below 70 mg/dl or your target range), eat 15 grams of simple carbs that are easy to digest like honey, jam, Jell-O, hard candy, popsicles, juice or regular soda, and re-check your blood sugar in 15 minutes to make sure your levels are rising. Check your blood sugar extra times throughout the day and night (generally, every 2-3 hours; if using a CGM, monitor frequently).
- If your blood sugar has registered high (BG greater than 240mg/dl) more than 2 times in a row, check for ketones to avoid DKA.
- Call your doctor’s office immediately, if you have medium or large ketones (and if instructed to with trace or small ketones).
- Be aware that some CGM sensors (Dexcom G5, Medtronic Enlite, and Guardian) are impacted by Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with finger sticks to ensure accuracy.
- Wash your hands and clean your injection/infusion and finger-stick sites with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
Take Everyday Precautions
There are everyday precautions you can take to help keep you healthy. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and take preventive actions:
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places–elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
- Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
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