COVID-19: What Your Friends with Pre-Existing Conditions Need You to Know

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Lala Jackson

The first few months of 2020 presented a global health crisis not seen in almost a century. When the coronavirus first emerged, wild theories abounded. We didn’t know who was most at risk to get severely ill or die. There was a mind-numbing amount of conflicting information – do we wear masks or not? Is this virus airborne or does it live on surfaces? Am I safe to go outside at all?

For those of us living with chronic diseases like diabetes, this was all exponentially more intense. Living with an invisible illness during a pandemic is a uniquely anxiety-inducing and isolating experience. Each of us has our own level of fear about our risk, but much of our ability to protect ourselves was based on pure gut feelings because no one had enough data from which to make informed decisions.

Now, we know a little bit more. Living with diabetes itself does not appear to increase our risk of contracting coronavirus, but if we do get COVID-19 and end up in the hospital, things could go south quickly. It also seems like many people who do end up in the hospital have other underlying heart or lung conditions or are older in age, so we don’t know what percentage of risk is diabetes-specific. For many of us, memories of poor diabetes care in hospital settings is a major risk to consider – COVID-19 may not kill us but a medical professional who doesn’t listen to or know how to take care of our needs might. And it may not even be their fault – in an overly taxed medical system that does not have the resources to take care of the volume of people who are sick right now, people with often-misunderstood chronic illnesses fall to the wayside.

Existing in the world with a disease like diabetes can already be already dangerous. Existing in a world currently going through a pandemic, with conflicting and limited guidance and leadership, broken healthcare systems, a taxed medical supply chain, and the medication that is our lifeline often too expensive to afford? It’s all still scary, and while we know a little bit more, we’re still flying blind and doing the best we can amidst constantly changing circumstances. Here’s some of what your friends with pre-existing conditions want you to know:

  1. This is still really scary; please give me space and time to figure out what decisions are best for me. Every person living with a pre-existing condition is different. Many of us live with multiple health hurdles we’re juggling, and even within the same disease, we each have to take care of ourselves in different ways. Some of us feel completely safe starting to return to (socially-distanced, while wearing a mask) everyday activities, while some of us feel safer continuing to stay at home. Some of us don’t have a choice — the need to earn a paycheck to support ourselves, our families, or keep our health insurance supersedes our fears. Be kind. Be patient. Don’t assume to know what we need. Ask us how you can support us.
  2. Please stop sending me articles about people with my disease dying from COVID-19. I’ve either already seen it or I’m purposely ignoring it for mental health reasons. I promise I already know all of the risks someone like me faces, and I am doing everything I can to mitigate them. It is my job to pay attention to the level my health requires, and I promise I’ve already done it.
  3. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time for any reason. In a time when we are all making decisions on the fly, there are days we’re agreeing to things because the most recent headline we saw seemed positive, or we’re having a strong mental health day. At any moment, for any reason, that may change. New studies about how COVID-19 affects people are published weekly, with studies that then directly conflict following just a week later. We’re not being flaky; we’re trying to keep ourselves alive in a constantly changing landscape.
  4. “Don’t worry, it only kills people who are old or already sick” is still a really horrible thing to hear. Knowing that there are so many people in the world who care so little about our lives is heavy. For many of us, this is simultaneously compounded by how society views our race, our culture, our social standing, our access to healthcare or a paycheck. We are being told we do not matter from multiple directions, and we are exhausted.
  5. Having a discussion about a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t productive for me. While there are many companies doing clinical trials, there is no current frontrunner. Once there is, there will be conversations about priority vaccinations. No, I don’t know if I will be able to get one. Don’t ask me about how I feel about vaccinations and what I will do once I get one or if I should get one. There are still many unanswered questions about what will happen after a vaccine becomes available and I’m just trying to stay safe until then.
  6. I still love you. But if I say I can’t visit with you yet, please respect that. I miss you immensely. I wish I could see you. Right now, I’m having to weigh the very real thought that if we visit together right now, there’s a chance I won’t be around to know you for the rest of your life. I don’t want to have to make that decision. Please don’t ask me to.
  7. Please stay home while waiting for your COVID-19 test results or if you’re feeling under the weather. This may not feel like a big deal to you. You may not feel like COVID-19 will impact you too harshly or you probably won’t end up interacting with anyone who is high risk when you go outside. But there’s no way to know who’s path you’ll cross and what impact COVID-19 could have on them or someone they are going home to. Many of us who are at higher risk do not have the option of staying inside and away from you. We have to get groceries for our families, we have to earn a paycheck, we have to see our doctor, and many of us don’t look sick. You won’t know when you cross paths with a high-risk person. Please don’t make those choices potentially deadly for us.

To learn more about the precautions everyone impacted by diabetes should take throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, visit coronavirusdiabetes.org.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

The Latest on COVID: Staying Safe as The Pandemic Surges

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Eliza Skoler

As COVID restrictions and recommendations shift, what do we know about staying safe with diabetes? How can we protect others and make careful decisions about risk?

As the pandemic continues to unfold, states and countries are leading their own initiatives to reduce infection rates and keep people safe. This means that people around the world are experiencing different stages of caution, risk, and safety. As we navigate the uncertainty of conflicting messages and daily updates to guidelines and recommendations, everyone – with or without diabetes – can do some things to keep themselves and others as safe as possible. In this article, we’ll look at the latest scientific recommendations to discuss what we know about preventing serious COVID-19 infections.

View our new COVID and diabetes infographic here. Click to read our first COVID reopening article, “COVID Phase 2: Diabetes Care During Reopening,” or check out more of our articles on COVID-19. You can also find the official reopening plan for your US state here.

On July 17, the CDC updated its recommendations for people who are at higher risk for severe coronavirus infection. People with type 2 diabetes have increased risk for severe illness, while people with type 1 diabetes may have increased risk. If you have diabetes, the best thing you can do to prevent severe COVID infection is avoid contact with other people as much as possible.

Click to jump down to a section:

diabetes and COVID

Image source: diaTribe

Stay at home as much as possible to avoid contact with other people

Coronavirus is spread through contact with infected people. This means that by avoiding public spaces and people who do not live with you, you can dramatically reduce your chances of infection. We know that not everyone is able to stay home – if you are an essential worker, thank you for the work you are doing. Please be as careful as possible and see below for information on protecting yourself outside the home.

COVID-19 is primarily spread through the droplets that come out of an infected person’s mouth or nose when they talk, breath, cough, sneeze, laugh, or holler. The virus is carried through these small droplets. Anyone close by can be infected by the virus if the droplets enter their mouth, nose, or eyes.

  • Droplets can also land on surfaces (like door handles or food at the grocery store) and infect someone who touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face.
  • The World Health Organization acknowledged in July that COVID-19 may be spread invisibly through the air. Many scientists agree that tiny droplets can stay in the air for an extended period of time after they are released, which means COVID-19 could be considered an airborne virus, increasing its danger. This provides even more reason to stay home.

Protect yourself if you are outside your home

  • Social distance by staying at least six feet away from other people.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when around other people in public. Your mask should full cover your mouth and nose and fit snugly against your face. See below for more tips on wearing and cleaning your face mask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even in your home.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Do not remove your mask to cough, sneeze, or talk to others.
Mask

Image source: CDC

Many people with coronavirus may not show symptoms or know that they are carrying the virus; however, even those without symptoms can still spread it to other people. Cloth face masks are meant to protect people around you if you are already infected (as shown in the image on the right; source: CDC). Studies show that masks are extremely effective: the more people wear masks in public, the less the virus is passed.

Here are some resources on cloth face masks:

As things reopen, make careful decisions

For many people, the hardest part about removing or lessening restrictions is that it can feel “safe” to go back to our pre-pandemic activities. To make the problem even more challenging, even though it’s not completely safe yet, many people are tired of social distancing and staying at home, and the social isolation has taken its toll on many.

According to the CDC, “the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” While the pandemic is still raging, here are some ways to be careful if you will be seeing people.

  1. See people outside, rather than inside

Because COVID-19 is spread through the air, it is much easier to spread the virus indoors than outdoors given that wind circulation and open space outside are far greater. This means that closed, small, indoor spaces are the most dangerous places to interact with other people. If you or someone you live with has diabetes, avoid seeing others indoors. Instead, consider seeing people outside, where you have more space to remain distant and the breeze complicates the transmission of droplets.

  • If you must see family or friends indoors, open windows or doors to create air flow. Find an indoor space that is large, so that you can stay far apart.
  • Wear cloth face coverings, even at socially distant gatherings.
  • Wash your hands often (or use hand sanitizer) and don’t touch shared surfaces.
  • Read more about the safety of outdoor gatherings from the New York Times.
  1. Avoid travel

The CDC continues to recommend that people avoid travel, if possible, because traveling exposes you to many other people who may be infected. This is especially important for people with increased risk; if you have diabetes, or you are considering visiting someone with diabetes, travel can pose a high risk for serious coronavirus infection.

  • While traveling in personal vehicles carries the least risk of COVID-19 infection, activities such as road trips can still expose you to the virus at rest stops, gas stations, and other places where you may stop.
  • Learn more about travel considerations from diaTribe and from the CDC.
  • Given the uncertainty of travel restrictions, if you travel you may run the risk of not being allowed to return home.
  1. If you haven’t already, ask your healthcare team if you can try telehealth appointments

Going to a clinic, medical office, or hospital can expose you to people who have COVID-19. Many healthcare teams offer telemedicine appointments so that you can discuss your diabetes management without coming into contact with other people. Ask your healthcare team whether it is safe and important for you to visit the clinic for regular diabetes management.

  1. Stay as healthy as possible

For people with diabetes, it is more important than ever to carefully manage your blood glucose levels. Keeping your blood glucose levels stable will keep your body healthy and ready to fight off an infection.

If you show symptoms or begin to feel unwell, get tested for COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear up to 14 days after you have been infected with the virus. According to the CDC, these are the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle ache, headache, or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have any of these symptoms or are not feeling well, stay away from others, contact your healthcare professional, and get tested for COVID-19. Find free testing sites in your state here. It is important to note that you may experience other symptoms of COVID-19 that are not listed above, or even no symptoms at all.

We know that people with diabetes face more serious outcomes of COVID-19 infection. If you, or someone close to you, has diabetes, it’s even more important to be careful in this pandemic. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you is stay home as much as possible and wear a face mask (appropriately!) when you’re out in public.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Emergency Changes to SNAP and WIC (Food Stamps) Adjust to Thousands of New Applicants During COVID-19

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Karena Yan

SNAP and WIC help connect millions of individuals and families to affordable, nutritious foods. Here are how these programs are evolving

Healthy food and nutrition are important not only for managing diabetes but also for the proper function of your immune system. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people maintain a nutritious diet and limit their alcohol and sugary drink consumption to improve our bodies’ ability to fight off viruses like COVID-19.

At the Tufts’ Food and Nutrition Innovation Council (FNIC) Summit on April 16, experts in nutrition, healthcare, and policy gathered to discuss the implications of coronavirus on the affordability, accessibility, and sustainability of healthy food in our country. In addition to discussing the changes brought about by the pandemic, council members made food policy recommendations for the post-COVID future.

While coronavirus poses a challenge for the smooth operation of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the USDA’S Food and Nutrition Service has implemented emergency changes to these programs to ensure access to healthy food for program recipients.

What are SNAP and WIC?

SNAP, previously referred to as food stamps, is a federal program that provides nutrition benefits for eligible, low-income individuals and families to support their ability to purchase healthy foods. These benefits are provided via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which acts as a debit card at authorized retail food stores.

Similarly, WIC provides federal grants to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. WIC serves about half of all infants in the United States, and these grants supplement the purchase of foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education.

How has coronavirus impacted SNAP and WIC?

As unemployment has reached nearly unprecedented levels , enrollment for SNAP and WIC has seen a marked increase. In California, application volume to receive CalFresh, the state’s version of SNAP, has seen a 350 percent increase since the crisis began. More than 57 percent of these applicants reported that they lost a job within the previous 30 days, compared to 16 percent in January.

Graphs

Image source: diaTribe

Moreover, panic buying and stockpiling during the epidemic have made the availability of SNAP- and WIC-eligible products scarcer. This is particularly true for WIC recipients, who may only use their funds on a limited list of products that have been selected as low-cost and nutritious. For those who do not receive WIC benefits, the National WIC Association asks shoppers that if they are choosing between two items, one of which is WIC-eligible, to avoid buying or hoarding WIC-eligible products, including infant formula.

What emergency changes have been implemented to support SNAP and WIC?

The USDA has implemented a 40 percent increase in overall SNAP benefits, which amounts to a $2 billion monthly allotment in addition to the usual $4.5 billion that goes toward monthly SNAP benefits. WIC has also received $500 million in additional funding to cover increases in program participation.

Additionally, while SNAP and WIC have some requirements that are challenging to meet during COVID-19, such as mandatory in-person visits to enroll or re-enroll in the programs, the USDA has offered many accommodations to these requirements. However, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has offered many accommodations to these requirements, in addition to providing extra funding to both programs. Several of these program changes are highlighted below. To see the full list of changes, please see here.

SNAP:

  • Application Processing: State agencies can extend certification periods and temporarily waive periodic report form submissions for enrolled households. Additionally, in lieu of face-to-face interviews for enrollment, states are waiving the interview requirement or conducting interviews via telephone.
  • Pandemic EBT (P-EBT): States are now allowed to provide benefits (similar to SNAP or “food stamps”) to children who normally receive free or reduced-price school meals.
  • Able-bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) Time Limit Suspension: States may temporarily suspend the time limit associated with ABAWD work requirements, which ordinarily terminate an ABAWD’s SNAP benefits after three months of unemployment.

WIC:

What happens after COVID-19 is over?

At the Tufts’ FNIC Summit, council members discussed the importance of maintaining some, or all, of these measures after the crisis. Requirements such as in-person visits and lengthy renewal processes pose barriers for SNAP/WIC recipients and risk delaying or inhibiting people’s ability to access these services, regardless of the circumstances. Moreover, given the sharp uptick in SNAP/WIC enrollments, the increased efficiency and accessibility of these programs will greatly benefit recipients long after the “end” of the coronavirus crisis.

Furthermore, council members hope even further adjustments to SNAP/WIC are made in the future. While these programs have been relatively effective in facilitating access to healthy foods for low-income individuals and families, the FNIC calls for greater emphasis on nutrition within the programs, such as by providing a subsidy for fruit and vegetable purchases or removing sugar-sweetened beverages from the list of eligible purchases.

Such incentives can provide vast benefits for both individual health and healthcare costs. For example, a 30 percent fruit and vegetable incentive for SNAP participants is estimated to save $6.77 billion in healthcare costs over a lifetime. Thus, while some headway has been made to these SNAP/WIC programs, advocates must pursue not only the permanence of these adjustments but also additional changes to the programs’ health and nutrition standards and practices.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Embracing Community in Times of Crisis

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Erin McShay

Sometimes in life, it takes something bad to happen for us to pause and appreciate how good things once were. I used to think of our lives as before and after our Sam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Fast forward twelve years: he’s a senior in high school and the Corona virus is sweeping the country. The cacophony of chaos in the world is now pulling our attention into dark territory, channeling voices of fear and uncertainty. It’s almost as if time has slowed down to a crawling pace; giving us the chance to inhale and catch our second wind.

Community

Image source: Beyond Type 1

Always a Battle

Dealing with any chronic illness is an arduous job packed with hundreds of additional decisions to make a day. Ordering supplies, planning and packing become essential, life-saving chores. We take the burden in stride, but then become our harshest critic when thing go wrong. From personal experiences, I’ve learned that dwelling on our missteps serves no one. Remember that Billy Joel song? “We’re only human, we’re supposed to make mistakes.”

Just last year I made a doozy when we sent our two teenagers to Houston to visit family – I forgot to pack additional insulin pump cartridges for our son. Halfway into the trip, Sam called to say he ran out of cartridges. We’ve taken dozens of trips throughout the years, driven and flown across the country, camped in remote areas, and I’ve never forgotten anything. I told him to check again. We went over the list together; extra insulin, needles, blood sugar meter, back up meters, test strips, infusion sets, ketone strips but no cartridges. In a cupboard, I found the sandwich baggie of them that somehow got left behind. Anyone who’s ordered these types of supplies knows that you can’t just walk into a pharmacy to get more; in fact, you only have a few options and they all take twenty-four hours to ship. It didn’t matter how many times my son and husband told me it was okay: two thousand miles away, I spent the entire night consumed with guilt and worry, crying on my husband’s shoulder. Sam spent the night waking up every two hours to do blood sugar checks and give himself shots. He learned a hard lesson and so did I, but meanwhile we still had to find cartridges.

Community

Image source: Beyond Type 1

Somehow, on a hunch and a prayer I managed to look up a Facebook/Beyond Type 1 friend whom I’ve never met – and asked for help. It was a miracle really. I was a complete stranger to her, she could have said, ‘Sorry,’ but instead this angel went to extraordinary measures for us by reaching out to her community to find me the specific cartridges I needed for Sam’s pump. Her son had a different pump, but a friend of her’s (another angel) met Sam and my sister-in-law to give them an exceeding amount, beyond what he needed. I paid her back when I got her address, but at the time I don’t think they knew the depth of my gratitude. Not to mention the many thanks to my sister-in-law for driving Sam to another county, and our family in Houston for taking such good care of him.

When You Need Help, Ask

The chances are in your favor in the type 1 community with a million out-stretched hands, and general well-wishers ready and willing to offer not only advice, but whatever you need to help you get by.

I’m embarrassed to say I ran out of supplies once before the Houston trip. Not long after Sam was diagnosed, we depleted our infusion sets before our new order arrived. Luckily a neighbor, whom I met through a friend, had the same insulin pump as Sam, and gave us a few loaners. Another neighbor, a type 1 diabetes (T1D) dad who lived around the corner from us, went out of his way to offer advice and help us when Sam was first diagnosed. We were so scared in those early years and his helpful words still bring me comfort years later.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Once, I bonded with a fellow writer at a conference, where I divulged that I had a son with type 1 diabetes. We became fast friends after she told me she had developed late adult onset T1D. One night, when my son’s pump stopped working, I called her in tears. My husband was out of town and I couldn’t get Sam’s pump to prime. She drove over to my house at ten at night – because these problems never happen in the middle of the day – and got the pump working again.

I wouldn’t have known these angels to receive help from them, had I not been as forthcoming about Sam’s disease. Nor would I have met them if I wasn’t on Facebook or involved with my community. You don’t realize these tiny miracles for what they are, until after the fact. If not for their help, I would probably be in a strait-jacket staring at a cement wall somewhere. Instead, I am now willing and able to pay it forward anyway I can.

Sibling

Image source: Beyond Type 1

As a writer and avid reader, I peruse tons of articles and social media sites a day, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s to think before you say or post something. Negativity helps no one. I’ve found that depressing, bleak posts can linger in your psyche long after you’ve read them. Your views can really impact others. On the other hand, knowing how meaningful certain tweets can be, spreading love and encouragement, cannot only change a person’s day but has the power to alter their lives.

One kind word can mean the world to someone. Life is hard, especially with a chronic illness and there is no question diabetes stinks, but what a wonderful support system we have in place within the T1D community! People can be quite beautiful, and they have a wealth of knowledge on a much deeper level sometimes than our medical professionals.

Pay It Forward

I heard once that Jackie Kennedy Onassis said that motherhood was the most important job on earth and if you mess that up, whatever else you do doesn’t matter very much. My son and daughter are edging their way to adulthood now, and I hope that they’ve learned from my mistakes and watched how I forgive myself. I hope they’ve learned from the tiny mercies shown to us, and that when someone’s in need, you offer a helping hand or an encouraging word without blinking. I hope they stand up to injustice when they see it, and become advocates for the less fortunate, like those struggling to afford insulin.

As I reflect in this trying time, I see that through Sam’s diagnosis, we’ve learned and grown so much because of it. It’s made us who we are – all of us. And though this is a flawed, imperfect world, we truly have a family beyond our own. No amount of social distancing can diminish how interconnected we truly are. The silver lining through this all is that we have each other.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Front Line Nurse with Type 1 Contracts COVID-19

Sarah Hannigan is a fellow member of the diabetes online community. When I saw she was also a fellow New Yorker, who was putting her own life at risk for us, I just had to reach out and thank her. Sarah tells us about her recent experiences with becoming infected with COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic. Thank you, Sarah, for everything you do and for taking the time to share your experiences with us!

How long have you been type 1?

I am Sarah, a nurse practitioner in a New York City hospital. I have practiced in a hospital for over 14 years as a nurse, ICU nurse and now nurse practitioner for the last five years. I am married, live in NJ and have two young boys. Some of my hobbies include traveling, weightlifting, Zumba, and yoga.

I have had type 1 diabetes for 20 years now. I have been on an insulin pump for 16+ years and have been using a continuous glucose sensor for about nine years. When I was pregnant, I kept my A1cs in the 5.3-5.7% range, but my normal control is typically 6.4-6.7% for the past decade. Prior to that, I spent some years in the low to mid 7s.

Did that play into your decision to become a nurse practitioner? 

Yes, I would say that being a person with diabetes played a role in me going into the medical field. Considering various careers, having a chronic disease makes it very important to have stable employment with good health insurance. I also got to see what nurses can do. No one in my family was a nurse and I didn’t really know how autonomous you can be. I also researched being a nurse practitioner and that seemed to be like a great combination of having a nurse background, but being able to diagnose, prescribe medications and radiographic studies, and do important disease prevention education. It seemed like a good way to connect with people and be able to prevent and treat diseases.

Photo credit: Sarah

When you heard about COVID-19 heading our way, were you nervous? For your family? And for your work as a nurse practitioner during this pandemic? Did you feel your hospital was prepared for the outbreak?

At first, like many people, I didn’t know what to think. My hospital, as with many places (in my opinion, because of our country’s poor leadership and lack of proper prevention strategies) kept functioning as usual business until mid-March when we started decreasing visitors significantly, stopping nursing and medical students, decreasing nonessential staff in the hospital. We were still doing elective surgeries. It seemed like it could help, but truthfully the virus was already in NYC; it was just that it was extremely difficult to get tested. This was evident by the skyrocketing numbers we saw when testing was more prevalent. As health care providers, we were actually beginning to wonder who had had it in the previous month.

I didn’t know what to think at that point; I knew my job was going to change, but it was unclear when and how. Since then, we have had to adapt to multiple changes since this is something we have never been exposed to at all. Resources, including doctors and nurses, have been redistributed to better manage the influx and we are constantly adjusting. We have stopped doing elective surgeries and the ways we diagnose and progress patients have drastically changed.

I was the most nervous for me in my house since I am the immunocompromised one who is working in a hospital. Children seem to do well with this disease and my children are very healthy. They don’t have any asthma or other respiratory illnesses. My husband is also healthy. I do know that anyone can get very sick as I have seen many scenarios as a provider for other diseases, but excessive worry is also not good for the immune system, so I have tried not to worry.

Most people were going out and buying hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, but I was just trying to prep my immune system as much as possible. I increased my fruit and vegetable consumption, eating smoothies and salads every day, and was more careful with blood sugar control. I did have my husband buy some frozen food and supplies in case we are unable to leave the house for a few weeks, but I didn’t do any excessive buying.

Photo credit: Sarah

At what point did you find out that you have COVID-19? Do you know how you contracted it?

It was either a co-worker or a patient who I contracted it from. I was in the room for the patient for 30 minutes. I worked closely with the co-worker for two shifts and then he left for the day with a high fever. I wasn’t going crazy at this point because I thought he could have something else, but I put it on my radar.

It took five days after I was in close contact with the patient for her to come back positive. It was seven days before I knew the co-worker had it. Testing took a long time to result. Before I knew they had it, I started feeling a little sick. I had a sore throat and felt like I was getting a sinus infection, but I didn’t immediately go to COVID since I didn’t have a cough or fever.

At the same time, my husband was feeling like he had a fever. He tried to get tested, but since he had no known contacts and wasn’t sick enough to require a hospital, they wouldn’t test him. Since my youngest had had a cold for over two weeks, I thought he could have given us something.

Once I heard the patient tested positive, though, I started being suspicious. I talked to my supervisor and she told me to do a telehealth visit to see if they would test me. I didn’t have classic symptoms; I had lost my sense of smell and taste, was very fatigued, and had mild body aches. I didn’t have a cough or fever. Being a person with diabetes, I also had the clue of needing more insulin. My basal was up 20-30% and I need more with mealtime insulin also. This was suspicious to me because normal colds don’t require more insulin.

I did the telehealth visit and the doctor placed an order for me to get the test, but the first appointment was five days away. By the time I was to get tested, I had symptoms for ten days. In the meantime, I took my younger child to the pediatrician since his cough had gotten severe; he was having trouble sleeping at night. Like my husband, they were only willing to test my son if I had tested positive.

It wasn’t good enough for me to say that I had been closely exposed to two people [who have tested positive]. This was frustrating to me because my testing was so delayed and by now I could have given it to my whole family and frankly, no one seemed to care. This, I believe, is how COVID-19 got so widely spread so quickly. It was so rare to get tested, so we, as a society couldn’t know who had it or didn’t. Even though I was social distancing, I still went to the grocery store and drugstore, thinking I was trying to protect myself from other people, not knowing it was the opposite.

Finally, I was tested at work; the test resulted quickly, and was positive. It was quite a turn around to go from having a hard time getting anyone in my house tested to my local public health department calling me and asking every place I had gone for the past two weeks, who I had seen, and the transportation I took to get there.

Photo credit: Sarah

Did anyone else in your family get it? If so, what were their symptoms?

I am pretty sure that everyone in my family had it, but it is unclear. When I called the pediatrician back, they were not interested in testing G since he was doing better. My husband got better much quicker than me and then wasn’t interested in getting tested since I told him how painful the test is.

How long were you (and any family members) sick for?

T, my husband was sick for five days. He had mild shortness of breath, moderate muscle aches, and significant fatigue. He said he felt like he did when he had the flu. (I have never had the flu so I can’t compare it to that). My young son had a bad cough. My older son had cold symptoms including a cough and runny nose. I am assuming they had it, but I won’t be able to know unless they get tested for antibodies.

Everyone was exposed because I really didn’t think I had it well into me being contagious. We are a very cuddly family, so we are always snuggling and hugging. Despite trying, I couldn’t get them tested. I didn’t self-quarantine because I honestly felt like I had exposed them all already and I assumed T and I had it and someone needed to take care of them.

Photo credit: Sarah

What is the main concern you have as a nurse practitioner and someone that has had COVID-19?

The biggest concern after having it myself is that so many people are walking around with it and we have no idea. I didn’t have the classic symptoms and it was so hard to get anyone in my house tested. I feel like it is so widespread and we have no way of knowing how far it extends.

As someone with type 1 who gets diagnosed with COVID-19, what was the first thing you did in order to prepare for your illness?

I just was trying to be extra health focused. A chronic illness makes you more susceptible because no matter how well controlled you are, you are not about to fully mimic your pancreas. I have exercised on some level which helps me keep up my energy. Only on the days of my worst fatigue did I take a break from working out. I think that helps me keep my immune system operating at a higher level.

Is there anything to have on hand that you would recommend to other people living with diabetes?

Keeping a healthy lifestyle! I would try to have other people go to the store for you as much as possible, washing fruits/vegetables well and quarantine other foods for a few days before you bring them into your house (COVID can be on the package).

I can’t imagine how stressful this time has been for you. How have you been able to rest, take care of your family and your patients?

My husband is very good at letting me take naps and workout when I need. I try to get one or two things accomplished before I let myself rest and veg out. When I am at a high energy time, I try to go with it and make dinner if need be. It can be reheated later.

Self-care is so important, how has working on the front lines affected your mental and emotional health right now? What are you doing to make sure you take care of yourself?

My goal for this week is to find a mental health professional to talk to on a video chat. I know there is help out there and I (and I think most medical professionals) could use some help right now. Our jobs are so different and the stress is challenging. I have been trying to listen to my body; I try to take a break from everything COVID every few days because it is making me anxious to be immersed in it all the time. I am working out or doing yoga every day because it makes me feel better.

Photo credit: Sarah

Were you able to take off from work once you find out you were diagnosed? At what point did you go back?

Ironically I was on vacation for the first ten days of my symptoms. NYSDOH and my job recommend healthcare providers stay home for the first seven days after symptoms, so I haven’t had to miss work. I want to take care of the COVID patients since I have had it. I would hate to see any of my coworkers getting very sick from it.

Being on the front lines, what is the most concerning thing you have seen from the COVID-19 patients?

The lack of knowledge and resources has been difficult to deal with. Hospitals are functioning for lack of a better term like war zones. No visitors are allowed. We have to function with what we have. There is no bed. We have to figure out how to manage the patient until they do. There are a lot of different precautions we need to follow to keep staff and patients safe.

What do the symptoms you see range from?

I am in the hospital so patients have to be pretty sick to get admitted. Mild COVID-19 patients, I do not get exposure to. In hospitalized patients, we are watching their oxygenation. They usually require oxygen supplementation in varying degrees. When the oxygenation gets low enough despite non-invasive measures, they have to be intubated and go on a ventilator. Frequently patients have fevers, nausea, and low appetite. It would be unlikely for me to see only mild symptoms because we would have them manage at home since hospital beds are a limited resource.

People are very afraid, being that you have type 1 diabetes and now have survived COVID-19, what would you like to tell our readers? Any words of wisdom on how to feel about this whole terrible situation?

Be vigilant about social isolation, hand hygiene, and good infection control, but try not to be scared. There is only so much you can do and being afraid isn’t good for your immune system. The biggest advice I have is controlling your blood sugars. Good diabetes management when you are sick cannot be overstated. Refilling prescriptions and obtaining your testing/pump supplies as much as you can is good prep as well.

Diabetes doesn’t mean that you are going to be worse off if you get COVID-19. Healthy people are dying from it. Alternately, diabetes doesn’t make COVID-19 a death sentence. I have diabetes and was less sick than my co-worker who is healthy. It is hard to predict, so take care of yourself!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me! I am so glad you are okay and feeling better. And from all of us here at Diabetes Daily, thank you for all you do! 

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Supporting Older Adults with Diabetes During COVID-19

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By T’ara Smith

With COVID-19 spreading around the world, it’s important to be prepared, not panic, and practice social distancing, especially for people with underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Though people of all ages are susceptible to contracting COVID-19, older adults appear to be more vulnerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled adults aged 65 and older as a high-risk group for severe illness from COVID-19. It’s also important to note diabetes impacts many older adults — an estimated 33 percent aged 65 and over have diabetes and are at risk of complications like low blood sugar, kidney failure, and heart disease.

At a time like this, it’s important to think about how the COVID-19 public health crisis impacts our elders with diabetes, whether they be our grandparents, friends, or neighbors. Here are some tips on supporting older adults with diabetes during COVID-19:

Help Ensure Medications and Food Are Stocked

Help older adults obtain at least a month’s supply or more of diabetes medications and supplies. If available, have them delivered by the pharmacy. Note that insulin can’t be delivered, so consider picking it up from the pharmacy for them. Health plans are also waiving early refill restrictions and allowing 90-day supplies. America’s Health Insurance Plans has a list of health insurance companies and the steps they’re taking to address the pandemic.

In regards to food, insist on helping older adults set up a grocery delivery service. If those services are unavailable, offer to pick up groceries for them. If your loved one is insisting they shop on their own, many grocery stores have set up a system where the first hour the store is open is reserved for older and immuno-compromised shoppers only. Everything is freshly cleaned and the crowds are smaller.

Stay Informed About COVID-19

We’re learning new information about the coronavirus, which leads to the viral disease COVID-19, every day. Keep up-to-date with changing guidelines and new research by the WHO and CDC. As we learn more about the coronavirus, we’ll be updating the information here. In the meantime, continue to follow WHO and CDC guidelines such as hand-washing, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, avoiding touching your face, coughing into your elbow, and more.

Implement Household Changes

If you live in a multi-generational household, there are varying levels of COVID-19 risks. In this case, it’s important to consider how likely each member is to be carrying the virus, especially if some members are essential workers. Consider implementing household rules such as not sharing personal items like cups, utensils, food, and water. If you have space, designate a bedroom and bathroom for potentially exposed or sick family members. Also, consider limiting or forbidding visitors. People may be carrying the disease without displaying symptoms.

Communicate With Their Healthcare Team

You can support older adults with diabetes during COVID-19 by helping them communicate with their healthcare team. Non-essential doctor’s visits can be held online and these services are offered by health plans. Assist older adults who may not be technologically savvy by setting up virtual doctor’s appointments.

If your loved one is in a nursing or retirement home, contact the facility to learn what measures are in place to handle the public health crisis. Ask what adjustments are going to be made to your loved one’s routine, particularly with blood glucose management.

Know that visitation may not be recommended at this time, as assisted-living and long-term care facilities have to consider that visitors may be carrying the disease. Advocates are also urging family members to not panic and do not recommend bringing home loved ones to avoid infection. However, if you’re interested in becoming a caregiver, learn what the caregiver laws are in your state and what health decisions you can legally make on their behalf.

Stay Connected to Prevent Isolation

In the midst of social distancing, feeling isolated can become a real problem. Older adults may be feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than usual. Use things like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and more to stay connected. Talk about things that aren’t related to COVID-19. However, if they want to discuss the virus and simply need someone to listen, be that person. If you notice COVID-19 is taking a deeper toll than you can handle, recommend professional online therapy services. Some are covered by insurance or have a co-pay. There are other online therapy services like Talkspace and BetterHealth where you can be connected to a counselor.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

The Problem with How COVID-19 Risk Is Being Discussed

This content originally appeared here. Republished with permission.

By Caroline Levens

There are 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in my county, and I’ll admit it: I’m very worried about the outbreak. Call me crazy as I sit in my apartment with mountains of supplies and food that could easily get me through June, but I’m part of the group largely dismissed by mainstream media. I’m immunocompromised and have underlying chronic health conditions.

Article after article says something along the lines of “most COVID-19 illness is mild, only those over the age of 70 or who are immunocompromised or have existing health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease, are likely to experience serious illness.” They then go on to say that most people with mild conditions will recover, so people just need to stay calm and wash their hands. Aside from that sole line, the high-risk group has no other mention in the article.

If you’re in the majority group and are indeed at lower risk, I’m glad COVID-19 may not be as threatening to you. But here’s the thing: you likely have parents, grandparents, friends, colleagues and maybe even children who read the exact same statement from the other side. In fact, according to a Department of Health and Human Services analysis, over 50 million non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition.

Facts are facts, and believe me, I want the facts. So what’s wrong with saying those groups are at a greater risk? Absolutely nothing – what’s wrong is the insensitive tone they come across with when they give the fact a quick nod and devote the remainder of the article to the people who don’t need to worry, and that saying ‘only’ the “the elderly, immunocompromised and unhealthy” belittles the value of this group. Comparing the average low-risk American to the high-risk group to help reassure them that at least their personal odds are better than some is in poor taste.

Sure, they’re writing towards mass America. But “the elderly, immunocompromised and unhealthy” is no small group, and the people in this group deserve better. While at a bare minimum an emphatic tone would be appreciated, the articles could share what precautions low risk individuals could take to protect those who are at higher risk. Their “mild” case could be life-threatening to someone else who contracts it from them, and it’s important they’re aware of that and how to minimize spread. Current articles make little sense: they focus on reassuring the people at lowest risk and exclude the high-risk group who needs it most. And it’s not just the high-risk group this matters for: it’s their children, grandchildren, parents and caretakers, among others.

The truth is, you have no idea who might be in this high-risk group, or who has loved ones that are in this high-risk group. Just the other day I was told I was taking excessive precautions and I’d be fine because I’m in my late-20s and look healthy (that’s exactly what invisible illness is!). And if you’re fortunate enough to be low-risk, let me tell you, it doesn’t feel great seeing the mortality rate for your condition five times higher than the average American, based on the limited data available from the Chinese Center for Disease Control & Prevention. I should also add the concern isn’t just about getting COVID-19; it’s about COVID-19 putting such a strain on the health system that individuals with chronic health conditions may not have access to the physicians, medications and treatments they need.

So all in all: please consider how you’re coming across when you talk about COVID-19. If you’re able to go about your day-to-day life unaffected, I’m glad you’re in good health and feeling little disruption. But there is nothing wrong with preparedness or being overly cautious. Life is precious, and I’ll happily work, eat and hang at home to reduce my risk and the anxiety stemming from the staggering fatality figures.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

COVID-19: Perspective of a Type 1 Healthcare Worker

Kelly Pearson is a family nurse practitioner who works at a busy urgent care center, and also lives with type 1 diabetes. Kelly took the time to answer some of our most pressing questions concerning the Coronavirus outbreak. Thank you, Kelly, for your time, and for being on the front lines during such an uncertain time, putting yourself at risk to help others.

***

I understand you work for Fairview Health Services, one of the largest Urgent Care in our country, in suburban St. Paul, MN. At what point did your organization start preparing for the COVID-19 breakout? 

I’m not sure, but we started testing for COVID-19 via drive up cars at my urgent care 8 days ago [around March 10th].

As a family nurse practitioner who is on the front lines, seeing how medical professionals are preparing, do you think we as a country will be able to handle the outbreak and treat all necessary patients?

I have friends that work as ER docs at Hennepin County Medical Center, a large teaching hospital in downtown Minneapolis, and their ultimate plan is to hand out flyers at the door stating that there is no medicine and no testing available for COVID and that the recommendation is to go home and get people to voluntarily sign out. Sadly, they are legally required to see all patients that want to be seen, which will overwhelm the healthcare system quickly if people refuse to go home, and you simply can’t keep them from infecting others in a crowded waiting room. That may simply include a vital sign and lung check and discharge home. I don’t know anything about the ICU capacity and how that’s going, but if regular hospitals are full, we can access the VA.

I don’t know how this will go. I think there will be harder hit areas and nurses from one state may need to up and leave to help as travelers. I hope they will suspend lengthy state-to-state nursing and physician license issues for this.

I read that people with diabetes are not more susceptible to contracting the virus, but the concern is what happens once we get it. What are the main concerns specific to people with diabetes? And, is the risk different for those who have type 1 vs.type 2 diabetes?

I would read this to answer this question. The key message is that well-controlled diabetics seem to do as well as other people their age, assuming they have no additional comorbid conditions, such as heart disease.

Being around patients who have the virus, what do you see as the most challenging aspect of the illness. What should people be most concerned about?

In Urgent Care, the most difficult thing is keeping people out of Urgent Care. We have had patients ignore signs telling them to go back to their car and call-in number for further advice and contaminate the whole clinic, for instance. People need to know that we are not able to help you at all, at least in Minnesota, unless you are severely ill and can’t breathe and then you need to go to the hospital. We are not even allowed to give a nebulizer to an asthmatic with likely Coronavirus because it will cause the virus to live in the air for several hours. You want to help, but you can’t. It sucks.

COVID-19 Perspective of a Type 1 Healthcare Worker 2

Kelly at work with her coworker in the Urgent Care, Jason Kimmel, PA

Having type 1 diabetes yourself, how are you staying healthy so that you don’t contract it? I’m sure you are stressed, tired and overworked?

Unfortunately, my gym closed until further notice today. The gym owners are putting up home workouts and actually let us borrow equipment to take home. Today, I did a bodyweight workout that actually kicked my butt.

I’m tired AF.

Something I didn’t think about was how tiring it is to always be aware of what you’re touching, including your face and surfaces. At work, I go by the presumption that all surfaces that come into contact with patients are at least intermittently contaminated with the virus. Information also changes by the hour, and we have to learn something and then unlearn it an hour or two later.

The thing that has stressed me out the most this week was the announcement this morning that no patients will receive COVID-19 testing unless they are healthcare workers or hospitalized. Minnesota only had the capacity to do testing for those with fevers, coughs with international travel or known exposures for 7 days. Basically, the only thing we’re tracking now is hospitalizations.

Do you feel comfortable being around loved ones knowing that you’ve been in such close contact, despite the hospitals taking all protective measures?

Good question. I think people are more scared of me because I work in a testing site.  I think my boyfriend is starting to get scared of me, but he’s still being supportive anyway. To make things worse, I get seasonal allergies right around now, so I’ve been aggressively treating those. I otherwise live alone.

As someone who has seen the symptoms and complications associated with this disease, as a person with diabetes, are you worried about your own health if you should contract COVID-19? I’ve read that vitamin D might help?

Yes, I’m worried about my health. I hope that being a lifelong athlete will do something. I think vitamin D helps all infections, but I don’t know of any statistic off the top of my head.

Many people are taking this very seriously, but some are not, including some millennials and the elderly. What would your message be to them?

As a Christian, we are supposed to work together, love your neighbor as yourself, not be selfish. I’ve seen a lot of instances of this so far. I think folks are coming around overall, but we’ve shut everything down to prove our point, too.

As this was so far an international travel and cruise ship issue for the most part (the overwhelming majority of patients are white and upper-middle-class), I’m mostly worried about when it hits our refugee and the immigrant population, who cannot readily access written information and may not trust information from the government. I have not seen information posted in other languages in the community. Hopefully, it’s getting there and accurate.

Overall, leaving politics out of it (albeit challenging), some people think we may be overreacting or that the media is hyping this up. How serious do you think this virus is and how serious should people take the instructions coming from ours/their government? 

Computer models show we’re about 11 days behind Italy. We’re really only a week into this here. During H1N1, we ran out of ventilators at our hospital in downtown Saint Paul, and I (ER nurse at the time) hand-ventilated a lady who needed a ventilator for two hours while the respiratory therapist called all over the Twin Cities at 3 am begging other hospitals to loan us ventilators. We were able to find one total. I think this is the best case scenario. Coronavirus is much more deadly than H1N1. Listen and stay home, wash your hands like your neurotic cousin. Assume any temp over 99.5 with even a minimal cough is corona, and don’t you dare leave.  Have an agreement with someone who will pick up your food and medications for you and you for them.

***

Thank you again, Kelly for taking the time to talk to us today. Stay safe and thank you for everything you do.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms of COVID-19?

As the global viral outbreak continues, you may be wondering what special considerations there are for people with diabetes to keep in mind. In particular, what should you do if you begin to experience symptoms consistent with the infection? This article reviews the most common COVID-19 symptoms, discusses potential issues specific to people with diabetes, and provides a guideline of how to respond if you become sick.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Be on the lookout for the following most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Coughing (especially dry)
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms may include fatigue, body aches, and sore throat, among others.

Special Considerations for People with Diabetes

You may have heard that people with certain medical conditions, including those with diabetes, are considered to be in the high-risk group for developing more serious symptoms of the disease, and have been reported to have a significantly higher mortality rate than those without underlying conditions. While these statistics are both relevant and can be scary, it is also important to keep in mind that your individual risk will vary widely depending on your specific health status, regardless of your diabetes diagnosis. Your age, other related and unrelated health conditions, and blood glucose management profile, all play a role in determining your overall risk. So, while as a whole population, people with diabetes are at higher risk for complications, your individual risk could be much lower than that.

For instance, as per the JDRF, those who have type 1 diabetes are  “not necessarily at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease. Those at greatest risk are those who have another, or second chronic disease (such as a compromised immune system, heart disease or renal failure).

Talk to your healthcare provider to better understand your individual risk level and recommendations.

Have a Plan of Action If Symptoms Arise

Being adequately prepared ahead of time can help you feel calmer and more empowered if you do get sick. Consider taking the following steps today, if you haven’t already:

  • Take preventative measures. Stay home. Practice social distancing (note: if you already have symptoms, self-isolate!)
  • Wash your hands. Avoid touching your face. Disinfect “high-touch” surfaces regularly.
  • Make sure that your medication refills are up-to-date so that you have the supply you need if you will stay in your home for a long period of time (e.g., at least several weeks). Make sure that you consider supplies used for diabetes management as well as any other medications that you use.
  • Check that you have medications on hand that you would typically use to treat a viral infection, such as a fever-reducing agent, like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Consult with your healthcare provider for advice about their specific recommendations.
  • Have enough food and water in your home in case you stay home for a prolonged period of time (e.g., several weeks).
  • Review the “Sick Day Rules” for people with diabetes. COVID-19 causes mild symptoms in most of the people who are infected. This means most likely, you will be treating your symptoms at home. However, any illness can make blood glucose levels more challenging to manage. It is important to be aware of how illness can affect your management plan and make adjustments as needed, with the help of your healthcare provider, to keep yourself safe during the illness. You can find the standard “Sick Day Rules” as described by the Joslin Diabetes Center here, but discuss your specific recommendations with your healthcare provider.

So, what should you actually do (and not do) if you develop symptoms of COVID-19?

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Self-isolate. Don’t go to urgent care or the emergency room, unless instructed to do so or you experience serious symptoms (see below). Stay home.
  3. Call your doctor and follow their advice closely.
  4. Keep a close eye on blood sugar levels. Work with your healthcare provider to make adjustments to medications, if needed, to help stay in the target glycemic range as much as possible. Keeping blood glucose levels in check as much as possible can go a long way to helping you avoid complications during any illness.
  5. Manage your specific symptoms (e.g., fever). Ask your healthcare provider for specific at-home treatment advice.
  6. Stay hydrated. This can help you keep your blood sugar levels in the target range and avoid complications.
  7. Be on the lookout for serious symptoms, including those of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), as well as the following “COVID-19 emergency warning signs”:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion or difficulty waking
  • Blue tint to the skin (on the lips or face, in particular)

If you experience these any of these symptoms, promptly seek medical care. Wear a mask if out in public.

  1. Continue to wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly.
  2. Continue to avoid contact with others (humans and pets).
  3. Do not discontinue isolation until you get the “all clear” from your healthcare provider.

***

For even more detailed information on what to do if you are ill, read these guidelines from the CDC:

What to Do if You’re Sick

Guidelines for At-Risk Populations

Also, learn even more about COVID-19 illness with diabetes from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) here.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Coronavirus and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, a new and deadly virus has quickly been spreading around the world: Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a highly infectious, acute respiratory disease that is closely related to the SARS virus. This disease only affects mammals and birds, and seems to have originated from a seafood market in the Wuhan Province of China.

The numbers are changing daily, but the most recent numbers show that over 76,000 people have been infected with the virus, with 99% of them occurring within mainland China. There are now over 2,000 reported deaths, none of which have occurred within the United States. So how dangerous is the Coronavirus, and what do you need to know as a person living with diabetes? Read more to find out:

Do Not Panic

On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency. There are currently protocols in place to restrict passengers entering the United States from mainland China (where the outbreak is the most devastating), and passengers suspected of being contaminated with the virus are being funneled through speciality airports with temperature screenings, to make sure they’re not bringing the virus into the United States. If someone is detected at an airport with the virus, they are being quarantined until they are no longer contagious, to stop the spread of the disease.

The Virus is Mostly Mild

Many people who are infected with the virus never seek treatment, and while COVID-19 is more contagious than SARS or MERS, the Chinese CDC estimates that the fatality rate is hovering around 2.3%. According to the World Health Organization, signs of the infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect you may be infected, see your doctor right away.

Protect Yourself

To protect yourself from getting any type of seasonal virus, it’s best to avoid contact with other sick people, wash your hands frequently (especially and always after using the restroom and before preparing food!), wear a protective mask when traveling through airports or busy bus/train stations, get your flu vaccination, maintain a healthy sleep schedule, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. According to the CDC, Coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets in the air, when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus can also be spread when an uninfected person touches a surface where the virus is (bathroom countertops or door handles), and then touches their face or mouth. Carrying antibacterial hand sanitizer with you can help to eliminate this threat!

Numbers Don’t Lie

Sometimes our diabetes gives us clues when we’re starting to get sick, and one of those clues is higher-than-normal blood sugars. If you’re starting to see your numbers creep up for no reason, it could be a sign that you’re coming down with something. Check out our sick day tips to stay on top of your diabetes when you get ill.

Seek Help

If you think you’ve become infected with the Coronavirus, call your doctor immediately. Even though most cases are mild, having a chronic illness and a virus at the same time can cause major trouble. If it’s severe enough, the Coronavirus can progress, eventually causing pneumonia and even death in some cases. Let your loved ones know you’re worried, and contact emergency medical help right away if you suspect something is wrong.

Have you or a loved one been affected by the international Coronavirus outbreak? Share your experience in the comments, below.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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