COVID-19 and Type 1 Diabetes
While COVID-19, and other similar illnesses like the flu, can be a serious health risk for people with type 1 diabetes, there are many steps you can take to stay healthy.
Type 1 and COVID-19 Facts
People with type 1 diabetes are NOT at higher risk of getting COVID-19. While not fully researched yet, experts believe that people with well-managed type 1 diabetes do NOT have an increased risk of getting COVID-19 and are NOT at higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus.
People with consistently high blood sugar levels and those with additional medical conditions such as heart or lung disease have a greater risk of complications if they get COVID-19.
Sick Day Management
If you do become ill it is important to pay extra attention to your diabetes.
Follow these sick day tips:
Monitor your blood sugar and ketone levels more often
- Check your blood sugar and ketones at least every 4 hours and before your meals when you are sick. If your blood sugars are high and you have ketones present, you will need to take extra insulin.
- Monitor for symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, or fruity-smelling breath.
Drink plenty of water
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Aim for at least 8 cups of sugar-free fluids or water per day.
Keep up your carbohydrate intake
- When sick it is important to still make sure you have the energy you need to recover. Choose easy to digest options such as crackers, toast, yogurt, or apple sauce.
- Have fast-acting carbohydrates available to treat low blood sugars if needed.
Know when to seek help
- If you have vomiting, large ketones, or symptoms of DKA contact your healthcare provider.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms and need to go to the emergency room, call ahead and notify them of your symptoms.
Learn more about Sick Day Management
It is important to be prepared, just in case. Make sure you have diabetes supplies and insulin on hand and have access to refills in case you are quarantined. You should also make sure you have fast acting sugar available in case you have a low blood sugar.
All leading insulin and diabetes device manufacturers have released statements saying COVID-19 is not having an impact on their manufacturing and distribution plans.
If you have been told to self-isolate, ask a family member or friend to pick up your prescriptions for you. There are also many pharmacies that offer delivery services.