The University of Kentucky Public Relations & Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Dr. Kristen Stakelin, medical director at Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2020) — People with diabetes can be more susceptible to – and can become sicker if infected with – any virus, including the new coronavirus. During this outbreak of COVID-19, it is important to be calm and make smart choices; that includes being well-prepared and watchful.
Here are some things you can do to plan ahead so that you’re prepared:
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face excessively.
- Social distance as much as possible to decrease your 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.
Make a plan for sick days. 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.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have a fever over 100.4.
Seek emergency help if:
- You are short of breath.
- You experience chest pain unrelated to sore muscles from coughing.
- You cannot stay awake very well.
- You have severely low blood glucose levels.