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Coronavirus pandemic: Easy tips for diabetics to stay safe

Considering the lower level of immunity, diabetics must ensure they take adequate precautions.

While the novel coronavirus is said to affect children and elderly more, it could equally be fatal for people with diabetes as the chances of infection flare up, as per Dr Jothydev Kesavadev MD, diabetologist, Thiruvananthapuram. In a video message, Dr Kesavadev explained the causative relationship between possible coronavirus infection and diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2. “I don’t say Covid-19 is a fatal disease. It is a fast spreading disease but the case fatality rate is relatively lower. However, in the presence of diabetes, the incidence of deaths are slightly more as the infection flares up,” he mentioned.

What is the link?

Dr Kesavadev explained that people with diseases like diabetes have low immunity, which is why their susceptibility to infections like coronavirus increases. Recently, actor Tom Hanks, who has been living with type 2 diabetes, tested positive for coronavirus. Cases like these make it essential to look at measures that diabetics can take to prevent the infection. Besides washing hands frequently and disinfecting surfaces, Dr Kesavadev shared tips for diabetics while stressing that they should be in regular touch with their healthcare providers/dietician.

Tips for diabetics to stay safe

As per Dr Kesavadev, it is extremely important to make sure you are controlling diabetes appropriately. “Frequently monitor the sugar levels at home with a glucose meter and ensure sugar is not above 180mg/dL. Lower the better. For hypoglycemics, under 70mg/dL,” he mentioned.

Never be idle at home; try to stay active. As per Dr Kesavadev, in diabetes, activity is equally important. “Ensure you are exercising for 30 minutes per day. In subjects with type 2 diabetes, in children and adolescents, the recommended duration is over an hour per day,” he said. Stressing on the importance of not letting social distancing make one lazy, he recommended one wake up at the same time every day, take a bath and be active. He also suggested that it is not a good practice to sit and work continuously for an hour in one place. Instead, take a break in between for five minutes and move around.

Drink plenty of water. Every half hour, sip a small quantity. It is important for hydration. Make sure the amount of liquids matches the advice of your doctor and dietician.

Get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep daily.

If you have a fever, sore throat or joint pain, avoid ibuprofen. It might worsen the existing illness.

Many hospitals are arranging telemedicine consultations. If you cannot avail fresh lab results, doctors can suggest modifications based on earlier results.

When the disease is over, if you have not vaccinated against Pneumococcal Pneumonia and influenza, you must do so as there is an international consensus which says it is a must for patients with diabetes.

Don’t be anxious or angry. Relax. Be positive. Read. Listen to music. Dance. The counter-regulatory hormones have a tendency to increase glucose levels and have the tendency to reduce the immunity level.

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