COVID-19 and Type 2 Diabetes

While COVID-19, and other similar illnesses like the flu, can be a serious health risk for people with type 2 diabetes, there are many steps you can take to stay healthy.


Type 2 and COVID-19 Facts

There is currently not enough data to show if people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. People with well-managed type 2 diabetes DO NOT appear to 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 are at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

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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 levels more often

Check your blood sugar at least 2-4 times per day when you are sick. If you take insulin you may need to check more often.

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.

Medication management

When you are ill, particularly if you become dehydrated, some medications have an increased risk for side effects or could cause your kidney function to worsen. If you become dehydrated, you should TEMPORARILY STOP the following medications:

  • Metformin
  • Gliclazide (Diamicron) or Glyburide
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors: Canagliflozin (Invokana), Dapagliflozin (Forxiga), Empagliflozin (Jardiance)
  • Blood Pressure Medications
  • Water Pills
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve)

AVOID oral decongestants (found in many sinus medications) and medications containing sugar (many cough syrups or lozenges) as these may cause high blood sugars.

Once you are able to eat and drink normally you can restart these medications. Continue all other medications, including insulin, unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.
Talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure what medications you should be stopping when you are sick.

Know when to seek help

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • you cannot eat or drink
  • your blood sugar is above 15 mmol/L for more than 24 hours
  • you have difficulty keeping your blood sugar above 4 mmol/L
  • you are too unwell to monitor your blood sugars or care for yourself
  • you have confusion, abdominal pain, vomiting, or shortness of breath

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  

guidelines for sick day management with type 2 diabetes

Be Prepared

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 access to fast acting sugar in case you have a low blood sugar.

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.