Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic for People Living with Diabetes

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People living with diabetes are among the high risk groups that can have serious illness if they contract COVID-19 - especially if they also have heart disease. People with both diabetes and heart disease tend to do worse and are more likely to get critically ill if they get the virus. 

With that in mind, people with diabetes should plan ahead of time about what to do if they get sick. It is recommended that they have the telephone numbers of their health care providers at hand and have adequate stock of medications and consumables for monitoring blood glucose at home, so that they do not need to go out in case of illness.

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. 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:

-Keep hydrated

-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

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs and symptoms of Covid-19, immediately self isolate and call the Ministry of Health and Wellness at 888-663-5683.

Learn more about Diabetes in Jamaica by clicking on the artwork below:

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