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Insurance Article

COVID-19 Pandemic: How To Take Care of Yourself if You’re Diabetic

July 13 2020
COVID-19 and diabetes
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A global pandemic without a cure or vaccine – that’s what Covid-19 appears to be at the moment. While a vaccine seems to be a distant possibility, the best we can do right now is practice good hand hygiene and maintain social distancing. Those living with diabetes need to be extra vigilant and ensure they’re keeping themselves safe from a COVID-19 infection. People with diabetes may be more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus; as fighting a viral infection is tough with fluctuating glucose levels in the blood. Moreover, existing diabetes complications may make Covid-19 treatment more challenging.

Since no one can rule out the possibility of getting infected with the novel coronavirus, how would you protect yourself if you’re diabetic? Is there something you need to keep in mind while preparing yourself for such a possibility? Read on!

Why are people with diabetes at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, anyway?

Diabetics are considered to be one of the high-risk groups for Covid-19 complications. According to a meta-analysis performed on 1527 Chinese patients, hypertension, cardio-cerebrovascular disease and diabetes were the most predominant cardiovascular metabolic comorbidities with COVID-19. People with diabetes or hypertension had a 2-fold increase in the risk of severe disease or requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission.

There are several reasons for the increased risk. Firstly, the immune system in people with diabetes may be compromised due to unstable blood glucose levels. This can make it tougher for their body to fight the virus, and it may extend the infection period, delaying recovery. High blood glucose may also be a favourable environment for the virus to thrive.

However, there is some good news too. Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to get very sick if you’re infected with the novel coronavirus. Your chances of getting seriously ill from the virus may be lower if you manage your blood glucose levels well. Monitoring your glucose levels daily, eating the right food, and exercising can help keep the levels in check. On the other hand, if the levels do fluctuate often, your body’s ability to fight a viral infection may be compromised, so you’re more likely to experience worse symptoms with the coronavirus.

What do people living with diabetes need to keep in mind during the pandemic?

It is essential to take all possible precautions to avoid contracting the virus in the first place. The general guidelines shared for prevention include frequent hand washing, wearing a mask when outdoors, maintaining 3 feet (1 metre) distance from others in public, and avoiding close contact with anyone who shows COVID-like symptoms. People with diabetes need to follow these prescribed norms even more religiously to ensure they’re safe from the virus.

If you are living with diabetes, here are a few crucial pointers you need to keep in mind –

  • Monitor your blood glucose daily to ensure it’s in control.
  • Keep at least two weeks’ supply of insulin and other diabetes medication with you, in case you show COVID-19 symptoms and need to quarantine yourself.
  • If you’re living alone, keep contact details of a friend/family member/neighbour handy for emergencies.
  • In case you start to show flu-like symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath and cough, contact your physician immediately.
  • Since infection is a type of metabolic stress, it elevates your blood sugar. This increases your body’s need for fluids, so ensure you have access to sufficient drinking water.
  • Maintain a diabetes-friendly diet to keep blood glucose levels stable.
  • Get exercise daily. Try some activities from this home fitness ideas list for inspiration.

If you’re living with family or going to work, you may be at a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission. If your family member or someone you’re working with shows symptoms, here’s what you can do to protect yourself from an infection –

  • Disinfect high touch points and objects at home/office frequently.
  • Don’t share the same plates, cups, towels, food, etc.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask and avoid touching your face before washing your hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.
  • When soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • If you show flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately and stay at home.

Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough exercise and monitoring blood glucose will help you keep diabetes in control, and practising social isolation and hand hygiene will help keep COVID-19 at bay. To support you in the fight against COVID-19, our health insurance comes with specific COVID-related benefits. These include coverage for COVID hospitalisation expenses, a shorter waiting period (15 days) for COVID claims, tele-consultation service with a doctor, and much more. Insuring your health will go a long way in reducing the financial burden that this disease carries, and equip you to fight the virus better. Be sure to include your family under the health insurance plan to secure their health under a single umbrella.

Source:

  • https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes/covid-19-and-diabetes/1-covid-19-and-diabetes.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7144611/
  • https://www.diabetes.org/coronavirus-covid-19/how-coronavirus-impacts-people-with-diabetes
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