Diabetes Forecast

What to Know About Coronavirus and Diabetes


As the number of reported cases of COVID-19 continues to grow, you may have questions, such as: What is it, and how is it spread? COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in China. It can be spread through person-to-person contact, as well as sneezing and coughing. It may also be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of being exposed is relatively low right now, people in high-risk groups should take extra precautions. This includes older adults and those with serious health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In general, people with diabetes face greater risks of complications when dealing with viral infections such as the flu, and that is likely to be true with COVID-19.

For more info, visit the CDC’s website.


The symptoms of COVID-19 can range in severity from very mild to severe, with some cases resulting in death. (As of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, there have been 29 deaths reported in the United States. For regular updates, check the CDC’s regularly updated site.) These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of the following emergency warning signs:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
  • Confusion or inability to arouse from rest
  • Bluish lips or face


  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid nonessential travel.
  • When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Avoid shaking hands. Use your elbows whenever possible, such as when greeting others, opening doors, or pushing elevator buttons.


The CDC advises that older adults and people with chronic conditions, all of whom are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, stay home as much as possible. Talk to your doctor about getting extra medications, or switch to a mail-order pharmacy.

Make sure you have enough groceries on hand. Whole grains (such as brown rice and quinoa), dried beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, canned fish and poultry, and low-sodium soup are pantry staples. Frozen fruits and vegetables are healthier than canned, but if you don’t have freezer space, look for low-sodium canned vegetables, then rinse them before cooking to lower the sodium level. Opt for no-sugar-added canned fruit. Extra room in the freezer? Stock up on frozen fruits, veggies, chicken, and fish. Also be sure you have enough fast-acting glucose, whether that’s glucose tablets and gels, juice boxes, or other source of carb.

By planning ahead, you can avoid crowded spaces if there’s a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.

Follow American Diabetes Association (ADA) steps for preparing for sick days.

Sick-Day Management

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately. If you test positive, then follow these steps to protect your friends and community:

  • Work with your health care provider to determine when you can safely end self-quarantine.
  • Wear a nonmedical cloth face mask to prevent spreading the illness.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as desks, doorknobs, and light switches with household cleaning sprays or wipes.

Learn more about managing diabetes during sick days.

Find information about COVID-19 and diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.

Get tips from the ADA on how to manage diabetes during sick days.



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