Diabetes and COVID-19
A recap of what you need to know and how to protect yourself as we emerge from the pandemic.
The good news for all of us is that the world is gradually returning to a sense of normalcy after a long and difficult year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, we’re not entirely out of the woods quite yet and this is certainly no time to let your guard down. If you’re someone living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, this has likely been a particularly unnerving year - wondering what extra precautions to take, what additional risks you might face from the coronavirus, and what the emergence of available vaccines means for you and your loved ones.
Many of you have probably already put together some form of personal diabetes care plan to help get you through the pandemic and the months that lie ahead. However, there’s no harm in providing you with a brief update on how diabetes might impact your COVID-19 planning, and offer up a few reminders about what you need to know and do to remain healthy in the coming months. We hope you find this post helpful.
Diabetes and COVID-19 - Risk of Infection
The first thing to remember about diabetes and COVID-19 is something that should provide you with a little added peace-of-mind. There is no evidence that having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
In fact, a post by the University of Michigan Health Lab states that one message is clear – having diabetes does not increase your risk of contracting the disease. In this respect, COVID-19 is an equal opportunity virus.
Diabetes and COVID-19 Vaccination
The big questions on the minds of most people with diabetes these days understandably revolve around COVID-19 vaccination.
“Is the vaccine safe for those with diabetes? Which vaccine is the best choice? Will I experience complications from the vaccine?”
Know this – all available COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with diabetes and barring any special circumstances given by your personal diabetes physician, it’s recommended to get your vaccine as soon as possible.
In a March 2021 article online posted by BJC HeathCare, Dr. Clay Semenkovich, Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington School of Medicine, points out that, “More than 3,000 people with diabetes were part of the clinical trial for the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine included 2,875 people with diabetes in its clinical trial. The trails found the vaccines to be safe and effective overall.” He goes on to say, “I encourage everyone, including my patients with diabetes, to get the vaccine.”
There is no clear evidence that one vaccine is better than another for those with diabetes. However, getting your COVID-19 vaccine should be a priority.
The Importance of Getting the Vaccine for Those With Diabetes
While the risk of contracting the coronavirus is not elevated due to Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the risk of experiencing severe complications from the virus is absolutely a factor for those with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with diabetes in general are more apt to experience severe symptoms with any virus and COVID-19 is no exception.
It’s important for those with diabetes to get vaccinated in order to avoid a serious and even life-threatening reaction to the virus should it be contracted. The vaccine does not prevent you from getting the coronavirus, however, it greatly helps the body’s immune system fight off an infection, so you experience a milder reaction and quicker recovery.
Yes, there are some possible side effects that may occur after being vaccinated, including fever, body aches, headaches and soreness in the injection site, however, these reactions are a small price to pay in order to avoid becoming extremely, or even critically ill, with the COVID-19 virus.
Currently, everyone 12 year of age and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To find a location and schedule a time in your area, visit the “We Can Do This” government website.
What Are Some COVID-19 Related Complications?
COVID-19 poses an added danger for anyone who is older or living with certain health conditions, one of them being diabetes. Severe complications from the coronavirus include:
– Acute respiratory failure
– Acute respiratory distress syndrome
– Acute livery injury
– Acute cardiac injury
– Septic shock
– Blood clots
– Secondary infection
– Diabetic ketoacidosis caused by viral infection
These complications can require the need for a ventilator and, as we have sadly seen over the past year, can be fatal. As someone living with diabetes, you are at greater risk of these complications and must be vigilant when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones.
How Can You Protect Yourself And Your Family?
The good news here is that more and more people are getting the vaccine and we are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations decrease. As a result, many parts of the country are reducing restrictions, including the wearing of facial masks, and opening back up previously closed businesses and events.
While it’s great to see the nation move forward, as someone with diabetes, it’s still important for you to take extra safety precautions. It may be wise to continue adhering to the Center For Disease Control (CDC’s) COVID-19 safety guidelines even as the country begins to open up. These include:
– Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or after leaving a public place.
– Wear a facial covering around others outside your family or friend group
– Do not participate in events with large crowds, particularly if held indoors
– Get your vaccine!
– Stay 6 feet apart from others whenever possible
– Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
– Avoiding contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Special COVID-19 Considerations For Those With Diabetes
Protecting yourself from contracting the coronavirus is obviously important. Equally critical, however, is making sure you maintain your doctor-prescribed diabetes health and treatment program. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your diabetes care plan and increase the risk of serious health complications due to poorly managed diabetes. In other words, while most of America is concerned primarily with the pandemic, you have the added job of maintaining good control over your diabetes. Here are some things you can do:
- Medication preparedness: If you’re taking insulin or any other medication to control your diabetes, make sure you have enough supply on hand and that your supply still has plenty of shelf life.
- Stock up on supplies and order online: Fortunately, leading manufacturers of diabetic supplies have not reported any lack of inventory due to the pandemic. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure you have plenty of test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles or any other supplies you might need. Additionally, instead of going out to purchase supplies at your local pharmacy, take advantage of online diabetic suppliers, such as Diabetic Warehouse, that offer free home delivery. Not only will you avoid rushing out to get your diabetic supplies, you can also save up to 65% on typical pharmacy and retailer prices. Not a bad bonus for being a little extra cautious!
- Stay active: You may not want to hit a crowded gym (even if it has re-opened). However, it is important to stay active because exercise is a big part of maintaining blood sugar control. Go for long walks outdoors. Invest in a treadmill or stationary bike. Join an online yoga or fitness program that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Just don’t let the pandemic rob you of being active. Moving those muscles and getting your heart rate up make the body more responsive to insulin and help you avoid the risk of hyperglycemia.
- Virtual visits: If you do experience unusually high or low blood sugar readings, or any other diabetes-related symptoms and want to consult your physician, see if you can do it virtually. Unless your symptoms require urgent attention, many doctors are happy to do online appointments, which helps you avoid busy waiting rooms and contact with other patients.
Things Are Looking Up
In the past few months, we’ve seen COVID-19 numbers both in terms of cases and hospitalizations fall off dramatically and that’s great news. Vaccination numbers are up and the outlook for all of us is a positive one. We caution you, however, as someone with diabetes who is at greater risk for severe complications due to the coronavirus to be extra vigilant and cautious as we collectively move toward normalcy. As always, should you have any further questions about diabetes and the COVID-19 virus, we suggest you contact your diabetes care physician.
At Diabetic Warehouse, we are committed to keeping you updated and informed on what’s happening in diabetes care and treatment. We’re also proud to provide free home delivery on diabetic supplies from top manufacturers, including Accu-Chek, Dexcom, FreeStyle, One Touch, Easy Comfort, True Metrix and plenty of others. Save up to 65% on all the diabetic supplies you need, including glucose meters, test strips and lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), infusion sets, and diabetic accessories. See what our satisfied customers have to say and explore our entire selection at diabeticwarehouse.org.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more.