Because of the present scare due to the COVID-19 infection, many people with diabetes have been contacting us asking whether people with diabetes are more prone to COVID-19. It is true that the people with diabetes are prone to all infections.
There are some emerging data to suggest that people with diabetes are also more prone to COVID-19 . Moreover, even in those with infections such as COVID-19, which leads to pneumonia, the chances of a secondary bacterial infection complicating the viral pneumonia is there.
Hence, people with diabetes should take particular precautions with respect to COVID-19, as they already have a slightly immuno- compromised state.
What can be done?
As with everyone else, it is important to maintain good hygiene, especially frequent washing of hands with soap and water and also with a sanitizer, especially in a health care setting. If you know someone has cough, cold or fever, it is better to avoid contact with them.
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The spread of the virus is known to be through droplet infection. Hence, if somebody with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, you are likely to catch the infection. It is not necessary to wear a mask unless you already have an infection. However, if you have the infection you should wear a mask to prevent infecting others.
It is important to keep your blood sugar under good control. Any infection is likely to increase blood sugar levels and uncontrolled diabetes can further lead to worsening of the infection. Increased testing of the blood glucose levels with a glucometer or Continuous Glucose Monitoring may be necessary. If blood sugar levels are found to be very high, consult your doctor and bring your sugar levels under good control as quickly as possible.
Unless you have type 1 diabetes or severe insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes, wherein the sugar levels tend to go very high and signs of ketosis or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) develop, it is not necessary to get admitted to hospital.
Follow all the usual precautions like washing your hands with soap and water regularly and ‘social distancing’, i.e., keeping a distance from people who are likely to be infected.
Although spreading of the infection through a needle used for blood glucose testing or insulin injections is highly unlikely, it is better not to share your blood testing lancet or insulin needles with anybody else.
To summarise, all people with diabetes should be aware of the COVID-19 infection and avoid coming into contact with an infected person. If by chance, you have already developed the infection, please see that you keep yourself isolated and don’t infect other family members or people whom you may be in contact with. Most importantly, keep your diabetes under good control and seek medical attention as soon as possible.