The Importance of Being Prepared
COVID-19 and similar viral illnesses—such as the flu—can pose a serious risk for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
What should someone with diabetes know about having a viral illness?
People with T1D are not more at-risk of contracting COVID-19. If you have diabetes and do become ill, with any virus, you must take special care of you and your diabetes.
1. Monitor Monitor your blood glucose and ketones more than usual.
2. Stay On Track
It is more important than ever to continue a normal schedule of medications.
3. Be Prepared
Ensure that you have diabetes medical supplies on hand and have access to refills in the event that you are quarantined. Stock your cabinets with items that will help you keep up your carbohydrate intake in a healthy way:
• Foods like crackers, vegetable or noodle soups, unsweetened applesauce, or fruit-flavored yogurt are all easy-on-the stomach selections.
• If those mild foods prove difficult to swallow, liquids can be a short-term solution.
• If blood sugars are in range, start with drinks that contain carbohydrates, and plan to consume something every three to four hours. Options include fruit juices such as orange or cranberry, sports drinks, and regular soft drinks.
It’s important to stay well hydrated, especially when ketones are present, to flush them out. Increase your intake of carb-free choices like water, broth, and sugar-free gelatin.
Anyone living with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Especially for people who are recently diagnosed, it is important to understand this complication and the ways to look out for and prevent it. People may be choosing to avoid hospitals and doctor’s offices during this time. It is important to know when to seek medical care.
When to Seek Medical Care
• If you are worried that you may be showing signs of DKA, seek help. DO NOT WAIT. If left untreated, DKA can lead to death. Signs include:
– Blood Glucose Levels Above 240 mg/dL
– Flu-like Symptoms (Tired, Weak, Aches, Nausea or Vomiting, Abdominal Pain)
– Frequent Urination
– Excessive Thirst
– Drowsiness, Lethargy, Exhaustion
– Difficulty Concentrating
– Fruity Smelling Breath
– Rapid Breathing
– Ketones Detected via Urine or Blood
• If you suspect someone you love may be showing signs of T1D, seek help.
• When developing symptoms of a severe viral infection such as COVID-19:
– Trouble Breathing
– Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest
– Confusion or Inability to Arouse
– Bluish Lips or Face