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Recommendations for patients with diabetes during COVID-19 outbreak

March 18, 2020 / in Wellness / by Kristen Stakelin, MD

Written by Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center Medical Director Kristen Stakelin, MD.

People with diabetes can be more susceptible to – and can become sicker if infected with – any virus, including the new coronavirus. During this outbreak of COVID-19, it is important to be calm and make smart choices; that includes being well-prepared and watchful.

Here are some things you can do to plan ahead so that you’re prepared:

  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face excessively.
  • Social distance as much as possible to decrease your exposure.
  • Have enough of your medication (and other essentials) at home to be able to stay in for several weeks. This is especially true for insulin.
    • Here in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear has signed an executive order allowing pharmacies to refill prescriptions for up to 30 days to ensure everyone has access to needed prescriptions.

Make a plan for sick days. You will need to:

  • Test blood glucose several times a day while sick. Call your healthcare provider if your numbers are much higher or lower normal.
  • Stay well hydrated with water.
  • Make sure you have tissues, medications to lower fever, a thermometer and plenty of test strips – along with your diabetes medications.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have a fever over 100.4.

Seek emergency help if:  

  • You are short of breath.
  • You experience chest pain unrelated to sore muscles from coughing.
  • You cannot stay awake very well.
  • You have severely low blood glucose levels.

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