Coronavirus and diabetes

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

There is a swirl of rumour and fact about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.

For people living with diabetes, and others with chronic conditions, it’s important to know and act on the facts regarding this new virus.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness and symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get sick very quickly.

It can be spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Who is at risk?

In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus have travelled to China, Iran South Korea and Italy recently, or been in contact with someone who has the illness.

The virus is spread through close contact with an infected person; contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze; or touching objects such as doorknobs or tables that have droplets from an infected person. The germs can then be transmitted through touching your mouth or face.

People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing severe disease if infected. Our community is being advised by the Federal Department of Health to take extra care with hand hygiene, social distancing and cough/sneeze etiquette.

The latest update from the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) advises us they will continue to operate as usual. They are advising people living with diabetes to continue to use and order medicines in your usual way.

What can I do to stay healthy?

NSW Health is advising that surgical masks are only helpful if you have the virus to prevent it spreading to others. If you’re well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask.

All Australians are being asked to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water and before eating or drinking
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with others

If you need medical advice and your GP can’t speak with you, ring NSW Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or for those in ACT, call ACT Health on (02) 5124 2613. You can also contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In line with our usual advice at the beginning of the cold and flu season, it’s a good time to review and update your sick day management plan, which you can find here:

Type 1

Type 2

Diabetes NSW & ACT recommends you get flu and pneumonia vaccinations when they are made available (which will be soon).

Join our community of over 45,000 people living with diabetes