UK HealthCare

Recommendations For Patients with Diabetes During COVID-19 Outbreak

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2020) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that some people are at higher risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19, which include people with underlying conditions, such as diabetes — especially if the underlying medical conditions are not well controlled.

People with diabetes can be more susceptible to — and can become sicker if infected with — any virus. During this outbreak of COVID-19, it is important to be calm and make smart choices; that includes taking care of yourself, being well-prepared and being watchful.

The good news is that for those who have diabetes, recommendations from the CDC for staying healthy are the same for COVID-19 as anyone else. If you have diabetes, the most important thing you can do should you become ill is have a plan. Here, Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center Medical Director Dr. Kristen Stakelin and Daniel Stinnett with the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Education Team and Bluegrass Care Clinic provide some tips and information for patients with diabetes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Planning ahead is the best practice.

Here are some things you can do to keep yourself healthy:

  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face excessively.

  • Social distance — or better yet, stay home — as much as possible to decrease your public exposure.

  • Have enough of your medication (and other essentials) at home to be able to stay in for several weeks. This is especially true for insulin.

    • Here in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear has signed an executive order allowing pharmacies to refill prescriptions for up to 30 days to ensure everyone has access to needed prescriptions.

    • o   Mail order pharmacies or those that deliver may be a good option.

Make a plan for sick days. If you become ill, you will need to:

  • Test blood glucose several times a day while sick. Call your healthcare provider if your numbers are much higher or lower than normal.

  • Stay well hydrated with water.

  • Make sure you have tissues, medications to lower fever, a thermometer and plenty of test strips – along with your diabetes medications.

    • Simple sources of carbohydrates such as glucose tablets, juice, regular cola, honey, jam, hard candies or regular gelatin in case you are too sick to eat.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have a fever over 100.4.

Seek emergency help if:  

  • You are short of breath or have trouble breathing.

  • You experience chest pain unrelated to sore muscles from coughing.

  • You have bluish lips or face.

  • You cannot stay awake very well.

  • You have severely high or low blood glucose levels.


Other resources:

UK HealthCare Questions and Answers about COVID-19:

State COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725

State Updates:

Lexington Coronavirus – COVID-19 Page:



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