It is widely-known that certain populations, such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.
But one of the biggest questions for people living with diabetes is whether having the condition – be it type 1 or type 2 – puts them in the high risk category.
If you’re living with diabetes and you develop a viral infection, it can be harder to treat as a result of fluctuations in your blood glucose levels.
This could be for two reasons – firstly, your immune system is compromised, making it harder to fight the virus. This means it can take longer to recover. Secondly, the virus may thrive in an environment of elevated blood glucose.
While there are many recommendations that have been issued to the general public when it comes to avoiding exposure to COVID-19, Diabetes WA reminds people living with diabetes to take extra precautions to protect themselves.
Here are some tips to help reduce your exposure to the virus or chances of contracting the virus:
- Practice social distancing from others and consider self-isolation.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially before eating and after being in a public area.
- Avoid touching your face before you have washed and dried your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Don’t share food, glasses, towels, tools etc.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (use a tissue or your elbow).
- Dispose of tissues after use.
- Avoid contact with others showing symptoms of respiratory illness (sneezing or coughing).
- Stay at home if you are unwell with flu-like symptoms and follow your sick day management plan.
- Seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Contact your doctor by phone initially to see what options you may have (many clinics have increased their use of telemedicine) as visiting a clinic can increase your risk of being exposed to the virus.
If you are living with diabetes and have any questions or concerns about your health, you can speak to a credentialled diabetes educator via the Diabetes WA Helpline on 1300 001 880, get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can book a free individual telehealth consultation by calling 1300 001 880.