diabetes & covid-19

This page is based on the latest information regarding COVID-19 and its link to diabetes and will be updated as new scientific information becomes available.

Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?
Currently, there is not enough data to demonstrate whether people with diabetes are more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. In fact, people with diabetes experience worse outcomes, but do not have a higher chance of contracting the virus. The more health conditions an individual has, the more likely they are of getting serious complications from COVID-19. 

 

What should people with diabetes know and do?
For people living with diabetes, it is important to take the preventive measures to avoid contracting the virus.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly

  • Avoid touching your face before you have washed and dried your hands.

  • Clean and disinfect any objects and surfaces that are touched frequently

  • Don’t share food, glasses, towels, tools etc.

  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the crook of your arm (inner side of the elbow) if you don’t have a tissue to hand 

  • Try to avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing

  • If you are ill with flu-like symptoms, stay at home.

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. Regular monitoring can help avoid complications caused by high or low blood glucose

  • If you do show flu-like symptoms (raised temperature, cough, difficulty breathing), it is important to consult a healthcare professional

  • 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. 

  • Make sure you have access to enough food.

  • 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.

  • Keep a regular schedule, avoiding overwork and having a good night's sleep. 

Healthy nutrition and home-based exercise
Healthy nutrition and regular physical activity is an essential component of diabetes management. It is therefore important for people with diabetes to eat a varied and balanced diet to keep their blood glucose levels stable and enhance their immune system. It is recommended to:

  • Give priority to foods with a low glycemic index (e.g. vegetables, whole wheat pasta/noodles)

  • Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods

  • Limit consumption of foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat

  • Choose lean proteins (such as fish, meat, eggs, milk, and cooked beans)

  • Eat green, leafy vegetables

  • Consume 2-3 servings of fruits

Sources:
American Diabetes Association
International Diabetes Federation

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