COVID-19 and Diabetes
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19), is a virus that affects the respiratory system causing mild to severe symptoms including a dry cough, fever, fatigue and shortness of breath. Symptoms may take 2 to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.
I am living with diabetes, am I more at risk of COVID-19?
Having diabetes does not put you at a greater risk of Covid -19. However, if your blood sugar is high the ability of your immune system to control an infection is negatively reduced. Therefore, it is very important to keep you blood sugar within target.
In addition, when infected with a virus, you are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications especially when you have poor glycemic control
Therefore it is recommended that you keep contact with your diabetes team to assist you in controlling your blood sugar. It is equally important that you avoid crowds and exposing yourself to public places, and practice proper personal hygiene.
How can I prevent spreading COVID-19?
• Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly 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 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 or closed-in settings with little air circulation.
• Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people around you.
I am living with diabetes; how can I protect myself from COVID-19?
– Keep a list of most important resources including;
o Phone numbers of your physicians and healthcare team.
o List of medications and doses.
o Paperwork including your identification papers, health card number, and emergency contacts.
• Make sure you have necessary supplies to prepare for staying at home for a period of time, including
• Treatment for low blood sugar like juices, honey, hard candies or glucose tablets
• Enough diabetes medications or insulin for at least 2 months so you do not have to leave the house. Make sure it is properly stored, keeping your medications in a dry cool place and your unused insulin in the fridge door
• Extra supplies such as glucometer strips, soap and hand sanitizer.
• Glucagon and ketone strips, in case of low or high blood glucose levels.
I think I have symptoms of COVID-19, what do I do now?
Take note of potential symptoms including fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, contact the Qatar Coronavirus Disease call center at the Ministry of Public Health call center: 16000.
When you call, inform the receiver that you have diabetes and be clear on your symptoms (for example: nausea, stuffy nose, sore throat).
I am living with diabetes and just got diagnosed with COVID-19, what do I do?
Follow sick-day guidelines for diabetes management to prevent low blood sugar (levels below 70 mg/dL or 3.9 mmol/L) or high blood sugar (levels above 200 mg/dL or 11 mmol/L), the guidelines include:
• Regularly monitor your blood glucose levels to make sure they are within target range.
• Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
• If you are experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar – below 70 mg/dL or 3.9 mmol/L), take 15 grams of simple sugars such as ½ cup of juice or regular soda, or glucose tablets. Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes after to make sure your glucose levels are rising.
• If you are experiencing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar – above 200 mg/dL or 11 mmol/L), take the following steps:
o Take your diabetes medications as prescribed
o Limit your intake of carbohydrates and high glycemic index food (like fatayer, sweets and juices)
o Double check with your diabetes educator on how to bring your blood sugar down
o Check for ketones to avoid ketoacidosis and in case it is positive go to emergency
Your diabetes educator team is available for all your inquiries, Call QDA at 44547334/44547311