Last updated: 04/27/2020
The coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is changing rapidly, and there’s a lot of information to keep up with. This resource page is designed to answer your questions and let you know what you can do to manage your health.
If you have any questions regarding your diabetes care plan, including medications, contact your doctor.
Q: I have diabetes, what does this mean for me?
A: If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, you are at a greater risk for getting seriously ill if you contract the coronavirus. For this reason, it’s extra important that you take steps to prevent getting sick, and that you’re prepared in case you do. This includes continuing to take all medications your doctor has prescribed and sticking to your diabetes care plan as closely as possible. To keep yourself healthy, wash your hands frequently, avoid people who are sick, and stay away from crowds, if possible. To prepare in the case you do get sick, have extra supplies and medication on hand to last you at least 2 weeks in case you need to stay home for a period of time. And if you develop any possible coronavirus symptoms, contact your doctor right away. The CDC has more information for people at higher risk, including those with diabetes.
If you have diabetes and you do become ill with any virus (including a cold or the flu), here are some strategies for managing sick days.
Q: Am I at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus because I have diabetes?
A: The research on coronavirus is still evolving. However, according to early information from China where COVID-19 first started, some people, including those with diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, are more likely than others to get very sick from this virus. Because of this, experts are urging those with chronic conditions to take extra precautions to stay healthy and to contact their doctor should they have any concerns.
Q: I have type 1 diabetes, is there anything I need to do differently?
A: As a person with diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, you are more likely to get seriously ill if you do contract the coronavirus. For this reason, it’s even more important to take all of the normal steps to prevent the spread of germs, like washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowds and people who are ill. If you do get sick, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar and ketones more than usual. Here are some other things you need to know about the coronavirus and type 1 diabetes.
Q: How do I manage my diabetes if I have the coronavirus?
A: When you are sick, you may have more difficulty managing your blood sugar. If you have the coronavirus, you are more at risk for developing serious complications. It’s important to work with your doctor on a plan that’s specific to you. Here are some general tips for managing diabetes when you are sick.
Q: I have high blood pressure, is there anything I need to do differently?
A: While the research on coronavirus is evolving, some doctors have suggested that people with high blood pressure may be at a higher risk for severe complications if they become ill. If you have high blood pressure, take the same precautions as any other high-risk individual to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands, regularly clean frequently touched surfaces in your home, avoid crowds, and keep a distance from people who are sick.
Q: As someone with a chronic condition, is there anything I should be doing differently?
A: As a person with a chronic condition, you are more likely to get seriously ill if you do contract the coronavirus. The CDC suggests that everyone take the same steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. If you have a chronic condition, it’s even more important that you follow standard recommendations, like keeping your hands off your face, staying away from those who are sick, regularly cleaning surfaces, and washing hands thoroughly to protect yourself and others. Some of these measures may seem basic, but they are key tools you can use to stop the spread of germs.
Q: Should I be wearing a face mask when I leave my home?
A: Yes. As of April 3, the CDC suggests that people wear cloth face masks in public places where it may be tough to stand 6 feet or more away from others. If you are leaving home to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, or doctor’s office, you should wear a mask. The reason: It is possible to have the virus but have no symptoms. Even without symptoms, a person can spread the virus to others through speaking, coughing, and sneezing. People who go on to develop symptoms can also share the virus with others in the days before they get sick. Wearing a mask can prevent a person with the virus from unknowingly transmitting it to other people. Don’t have a cloth face mask? You can make one at home. The CDC has instructions on sewing your own face mask. You can also make one using just an old T-shirt and scissors. Clean your mask in the washing machine after you use it.
Note: Per the CDC’s guidance, the cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
Q: What can I do to keep from getting sick?
A: Recommended safety precautions are the same as for the flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Dispose of tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward. The World Health Organization recommends avoiding contact like handshakes, and practicing social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks by people who are not infected. Here are some ways to prevent getting sick from the coronavirus, colds, and flu.
Q: I am having trouble affording my diabetes medications. Are there any services for this?
A: Yes. The American Diabetes Association has compiled a list of resources that can assist you in getting the insulin and diabetes meds you need.
Q: Should I be staying away from other people? Avoiding social situations?
A: If you are at high risk for severe illness, the CDC recommends avoiding crowds as much as possible. The agency also recommends skipping any nonessential air travel and avoiding cruise ships. If coronavirus is spreading through your community, take extra steps to distance yourself from others. Stay home as much as possible.
Even if you’re not at high risk, if you feel sick or have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or have recently traveled internationally, it’s best to stay home and avoid contact with others.
Q: What are the symptoms of the coronavirus and how does it spread?
A: The following are symptoms of the coronavirus and may not appear until 2-14 days after exposure. You are contagious before symptoms are present.
- Shortness of breath
Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus OR have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the coronavirus.
Q: Is there a vaccine for the coronavirus?
A: No, currently there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, however, it is important to make sure you are up to date on your immunizations and vaccines. The annual flu vaccine, for instance, can keep you from getting sick with the flu; it is also linked with fewer hospitalizations in people with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Q: What should I do if I think I have the coronavirus?
A: Stay home, in a separate room from others. Use a separate bathroom, if possible. Call your doctor’s office to get advice on how to proceed. The CDC has detailed information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus.
Q: Should I use telehealth services for my medical care? If so, what do I need to do to prepare for this?
A: More doctors are using virtual visits since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). This can help limit the spread of the virus. If you think you have the coronavirus, call your doctor. They will ask questions to decide what level of care you may need. Even if you’re not ill, it’s important to keep up on routine visits with your provider. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition. In many cases, virtual visits are a great solution. Here are our tips to set yourself up for a successful virtual visit with your doctor.
Q: If I think I have been exposed to the coronavirus, should I be tested?
A: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and you develop symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, and a cough, call your medical provider for direction on how best to proceed.
Most people can recover at home, in isolation. But your medical provider should determine what is best for you, according to your symptoms.
The CDC has also developed a tool called the Coronavirus Self-Checker to use as a guide to help you determine proper medical care. However, this should not be used in place of your doctor’s advice. If you develop the following symptoms, get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Q: What should I do if I think I’ve come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus?
A: If you believe you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus, stay home — even if you feel fine. Continue taking normal precautions against the spread of the virus, like washing your hands and cleaning surfaces. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms of coronavirus: a fever with symptoms of respiratory illness like coughing and difficulty breathing.
Q: If I have to stay in my house for long periods of time, what do I need to know?
A: Talk with your doctor ahead of time about getting an extra supply of meds. Be sure you have enough medications and diabetes testing supplies to last you at least 2 weeks. If you need more testing supplies, you can order them directly through your Livongo meter, the Livongo mobile app, or by contacting Member Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 945-4355. Also, be sure to stock up on the essentials like food, water, toiletries, and anything else you think you may need.
Q: What are some nonperishable foods that I can keep on hand if I cannot leave my house?
Q: How should I plan, in case there is an outbreak of the coronavirus in my community?
A: If there is an outbreak in your community, here are some ways you can be prepared.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
If you are feeling stressed or anxious about the coronavirus, here are some resources that may be helpful:
- 1-Minute Meditation
- Relieving Stress in the Moment
- 8 Ways to Better Manage Stress
- Managing Overwhelming Thoughts about COVID-19
- Changing Plans and Handling Disappointment
- Processing Emotions about COVID-19
- Staying Connected While Social Distancing
- Keeping Perspective in a Crisis
Managing Blood Sugar
If you’re having trouble managing your blood sugar levels, here are some resources that may be helpful:
- Managing Low Blood Sugar Levels (Hypoglycemia)
- Managing High Blood Sugar Levels (Hyperglycemia)
- Managing High Morning Blood Sugar Levels