Advice on type 1 diabetes and COVID-19
Friday, 27 March 2020
As with any public health emergency, information changes according to what we learn. Here is a list of the most pertinent information for people with type 1 diabetes about COVID-19, as we know it today.
Availability of medicines
The Department of Health has advised us that there are no current shortages or supply issues with insulin, diabetes medicines or NDSS products. People with diabetes are advised to order and obtain their diabetes medicines and supplies as usual. There is no need to stockpile.
We recommend you order your medication and supplies a week in advance so your pharmacy can order it from their supplier if they don’t have it in stock.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is continuing to monitor supply arrangements for medicines and medical devices. Further information is available from the TGA website at www.tga.gov.au.
Are you more likely to contract COVID-19?
Based on the latest information from the Federal Department of Health, people with type 1 diabetes are not more at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Because this virus is new, medical data is constantly being evaluated about the effects of this virus. We will keep you informed about any changes to current information.
The World Health Organisation said while the medical community is still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
The JDRF said those at greatest risk are those who have another chronic condition, or additional health problems (such as a compromised immune system, heart disease or renal failure).
What you can do to reduce your risk
The advice for people with diabetes on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is the same for everyone else.
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based solution, especially before eating and after being in public.
- Don’t share food, tools, glasses and towels.
- Avoid close contact, handshaking, kissing, hugging when you meet. If someone is visibly ill, coughing or sneezing, keep away.
- Keep at least 1.5 metres away from people.
- If you get sick with respiratory symptoms stay at home and consult your diabetes healthcare team about your illness.
What steps should people with diabetes be taking
COVID-19 has many of the same symptoms as the flu. This can affect your blood glucose levels. That’s why now is a good time to review your diabetes sick day management plan.
Get your sick day action plan and sick day management kit ready now so that if you get a respiratory illness or symptoms you are prepared.
Your sick day kit should have enough diabetes supplies such as medicines, insulin, blood glucose testing strips, ketone testing strips, hypo treatments and other products you use to manage diabetes.
Check all your strips and medications are in date and stored appropriately.
Helpful factsheets, for people living with type 1 diabetes are available on the National Diabetes Services Scheme website – www.ndss.com.au
For additional information see our factsheets on managing sick days
What should you do if you feel unwell?
If you experience respiratory illness symptoms you should seek medical attention.
The Department of Health recommends calling ahead of time to book an appointment. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you have symptoms and need to leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
There are also some general things people with diabetes should do if they are feeling sick:
- Keep hydrated
- Monitor blood glucose levels
- Monitor your temperature
- If you are using insulin, also monitor your ketones
- Follow the recommendations of your diabetes healthcare team.