Living With Diabetes: What You Need To Know About The COVID-19 Delta Variant
As if we haven’t gone through enough with the coronavirus pandemic, now we’re staring down a new strain of COVID-19. The emergence of the Delta variant has international health organizations and our own Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reexamining strategies and reasserting recommendations to thwart the spread of the virus.
In other words, folks, it seems we’re not out of the woods just yet.
As someone living with diabetes, you’ve hopefully been taking extra precautions to say safe for quite some time now (in fact, it probably seems like an eternity at this point). While we’d love to be writing about how the end of this long global nightmare seems to be on the horizon, the Delta variant is just not going to allow that to happen. Which means, whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you need to continue doing everything you can to minimize your risk of infection. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that right now, as much as at any time during the pandemic, those with diabetes need to remain vigilant.
Five Important facts about the Delta variant
- This strain spreads easier and faster
One of the greatest concerns about the Delta variant is that, according to scientists at Yale Medicine, it is 50% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. Currently, the Delta variant is accounting for 80% of all new cases in the
United States. According to the CDC as referenced in a New York Times article, this thing is more transmissible than the common cold and the seasonal flu, and is, in fact, as contagious as chicken pox.
- Those who are fully vaccinated can still get sick
Even if you’ve been vaccinated, there is a small chance you can become infected and symptomatic with the Delta variant. The good news is that the vaccine usually prevents against the most severe reactions, with symptoms tending to be relatively mild, along the lines of the common cold with a cough, fever and the widespread COVID symptom of loss of smell. However, as someone with diabetes your risk of more severe symptoms may increase and that’s an important consideration in terms of masking up and socializing.
- Even vaccinated people can spread the disease.
While the vaccine does most often prevent severe cases from occurring, it does not prevent those who experience even mild symptoms from spreading the virus. This is another big worry about the Delta variant. In fact, according to the CDC, the Delta variant produces virus amounts in the airways that are tenfold those found in cases of the Alpha variant, making it contagious even among the fully vaccinated.
- The risk to the unvaccinated is dramatically higher.
Those who have neglected to get the COVID vaccine are at far greater risk of both becoming infected and seeing those severe, if not life-threatening symptoms. What’s more, the Mayo Clinic points out that we are seeing a big increase in unvaccinated patients 18 years and even younger with this new strain, and, according to a post by UC Davis Health, hospital physicians there are noting that many patients being admitted with critical conditions due to the Delta variant are arriving saying, “Why did I not get the vaccine!”
- Delta could lead to hyper-local outbreaks.
Yale Medicine warns that if you live in an area that has a low vaccination rate, or even adjacent to a community with low rates, you could be in for a Delta variant outbreak in your area. This variant is highly transmissible and without sufficient vaccination rates, it could cause local healthcare systems to once again be overwhelmed with critical cases if the spread of Delta is not kept in check. The best way to avoid hospital emergency rooms from feeling the squeeze is to increase vaccination rates.
What should you do as a diabetic?
- Get your vaccine.
First and foremost, if you haven’t already done it, please get the vaccine! As someone living with diabetes you are already at a greater risk of serious COVID complications. The vaccine has been proven safe and effective for diabetic use, and to dramatically reduce the impact of symptoms should you contract the Delta variant.
- Consider masking up again.
This is a tough pill to swallow for many given that things were finally beginning to settle down and masking, particularly outdoors, seemed to be far less necessary. However, with the surge in Delta variant cases, the CDC now recommends that everyone wear a mask indoors while in public spaces if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
However, for those at greater risk of severe reactions, including individuals with weakened immune systems and underlying heath conditions, such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the CDC asks you and those closest to you to consider wearing a mask regardless of transmission levels in your area. Additionally, your risk may be further amplified by health factors, such as obesity and diabetes-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and kidney problems. Weighing the options, a mask is a small inconvenience for most people.
- Avoid large gatherings
In many areas of the country life has gradually begun moving back to business as usual. Concerts, parties, travel, sporting events have all seen large numbers of fans and enthusiasts return. Unfortunately, as someone living with diabetes, it’s probably not the wisest idea to join the crowds. As the Delta variant continues to spread, the risk-reward for diabetics just doesn’t add up in our favor.
- Stick with your diabetes treatment plan
Featured in a post on diatribe.org, Dr John Buse of the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine states, “People with their blood sugar in range, no diabetes complications, lower age and lower weight seem to have less severe COVID, though they are still at higher risk of hospitalization or death than people without diabetes.”
Look, you already know you’re at greater risk. But Dr. Buse clearly points out that sticking to your blood sugar testing schedule, taking your doctor-prescribed insulin or other medications, and generally keeping your blood sugar level in check is a huge advantage when it comes to possible reactions to COVID-19 and this new Delta variant.
- Stock up on supplies and buy online
The easiest and most affordable way to make sure you have everything you need to manage your diabetes effectively, while minimizing risk, is to order your diabetic supplies from an authorized online supplier. At Diabetic Warehouse, we hope you’ll give us the opportunity to serve you. Were committed to helping you follow your doctor-prescribed diabetes treatment plan with free delivery on a complete selection of diabetic supplies and equipment, including glucose meters, test strips and lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, infusion sets and a variety of diabetic accessories.
Our prices are up to 65% less than those you’ll find at most pharmacies and our products always feature expiration dates with long lead times so you can stock up confidently. Shop for all your needs from leading manufacturers, including FreeStyle, Easy Comfort, Clever Choice, Accu-Chek, One Touch, Dexcom, True Metrix, Contour Next and others.
We hope you found this post interesting and insightful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re proud to keep you informed with the latest news and tips on living with diabetes. See what our satisfied customers have to say and save on all your diabetic supply needs 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, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.