Q: I have diabetes. What do I need to know about COVID-19?
People with diabetes (PWD) with its associated comorbidities are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Recent studies showed that people with less controlled diabetes and obesity are three to four times at risk of hospitalization, and can experience severe outcomes, including death than those with well-managed diabetes. A recent study in the UK also showed that people with type 1 diabetes might be at even higher risk for poorer outcomes (due to longer-term vascular damage) than people with type 2 diabetes.
The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to avoid getting it! Reduce your risk of being exposed by avoiding gatherings and staying home as much as possible, staying at least six feet away from other people, wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose when around others, disinfecting "high-touch" surfaces and objects in your home regularly, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Manage your diabetes by keeping your blood sugars at your target level, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, being physically active, and taking medication to manage any other health conditions, like hypertension or heart disease. Make sure you keep up with any medical appointments and schedule virtual appointments when you can.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, contact your physician immediately. Remember that most people have a mild illness, even in higher-risk groups. You can recover at home if your symptoms are not severe, and you're able to remain physically distant from your other household members. Treat your symptoms and closely monitor your blood sugar levels.
If your symptoms worsen or you're not able to keep your glucose levels under control, call your doctor and follow their instructions.
Jolly Anne L. Uclaray, MSN RN CDCES, Diabetes Coordinator
Maui Memorial Medical Center