People living with diabetes are among the high risk groups that can have serious illness, if they contract a viral infection (eg. COVID-19) - especially if they also have heart disease.
With that in mind, the Diabetes Association of Jamaica recommends that people with diabetes should:
People with both diabetes and heart disease tend to do worse and are more likely to get critically ill if they get the virus.
- Diabetes Association of Jamaica
If someone with diabetes shows signs and symptoms of the virus, such as a fever with a cough or shortness of breath, or may have been exposed to the virus, they should call their doctor or nurse immediately, or contact the MOHW Coronavirus Hotline (888ONELOVE) - they should NOT rush to the doctor, health centre or a hospital unless they are told to do so.
If they are told to stay at home, they should follow the exact instructions given to them.
The Diabetes Association of Jamaica suggests the following for persons who may have been exposed and are told to stay at home:
The exposed person should be placed in a single room by themselves; if not, they should sleep in a bed by themselves and family members and caretakers should stay at least 3 feet away.
Everyone should continue to practise proper hand hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water regularly. Family members and caregivers should do so especially before and after interacting with the exposed person (patient).
The affected person should be provided with a mask. If a mask is not available or the person cannot tolerate the mask, they should cover their nose and mouth with a disposable paper tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Family members and caregivers should also wear a mask when interacting with the affected person.
If someone with diabetes gets sick with the virus, they may have difficulty controlling their blood sugar. These people are urged to practise the “sick day rules” as follows:
Monitor their blood glucose
Monitor their temperature
If they are on insulin, they should monitor the ketones in their urine
Follow the recommendations of their healthcare team