Diabetes and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
If You Get Sick, Know What to Do
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or you feel like you are developing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your health care provider. Seek medical care immediately if you experience any of the emergency warning signs, including:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you do become sick, here are some common tips. Please note these may vary for each person:
- Drink lots of fluids. If you’re having trouble keeping water down, have small sips or ice chips every 15 minutes or so throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
- If you are experiencing a low (blood sugar below 70 mg/dl or your target range), follow the 15-15 Rule: eat 15 grams of simple carbs that are easy to digest, like honey, jam, Jell-O, hard candy, popsicles, juice or regular soda, and re-check your blood sugar in 15 minutes to make sure your levels are rising. Check your blood sugar extra times throughout the day and night (generally, every two to three hours; if using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), monitor frequently).
- Learn the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Be sure to talk with your diabetes care team about when to check for ketones, and when to contact your doctor if you have them. For many people, getting a blood sugar greater than 240mg/dl more than two times in a row is a sign that they need to check for ketones—but be sure to talk to your health care provider to learn what you should do for your sick day plan.
- Be aware that some continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensors (some Dexcom, Medtronic and Guardian models) are impacted by acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with your manufacturer to see if your CGM is affected, and if so, check your blood sugar with finger sticks to ensure accuracy if you’re taking acetaminophen.
- Wash your hands and clean your injection/infusion and finger-stick sites with soap and water or rubbing alcohol if soap and water isn’t available.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers extensive guidance on what to do if you or someone in your care is sick, including how to isolate, when to quarantine and when you can be around others again.