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What to do if you have diabetes and COVID-19

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Last week, one of our Diabetic South Africans community members asked what to do if you have diabetes and get COVID-19. What a good question! We’ve been so focused on advice for preventing COVID-19, that we haven’t given helpful tips for what to do if you get it. We asked Prof Joel Dave, who has been working with diabetics and COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, for some tips. Here’s what he had to say.

What to do if you have diabetes and COVID-19

  • Self care at home
  • Monitor blood sugar more often
  • Stick to a healthy diet
  • Take your medication as prescribed
  • Communicate with your doctor often
  • Take paracetamol for aches and pain
  • Take vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc to boost immunity
  • Speak to your doctor if your blood sugar is often above 10 mmol/l
  • If your symptoms are getting worse (more severe diarrhea, fever not going down, any of your symptoms getting worse rather than better) go to hospital or at least speak to your doctor.
  • Don’t wait until you’re short of breath to go to hospital.

Go to hospital sooner

We all know that people with diabetes (generally older, Type 2 diabetics) are at greater risk of the serious version of COVID-19. Prof Dave said that what they’re now seeing is too many people coming to hospital too late. The original advice was to wait until you were short of breath before going to the doctor or hospital, but people with diabetes mustn’t wait that long. If you can keep your blood sugar below 10mmol/l, your chances of recovery are much better.

Here’s a helpful news article that explains the situation in the Western Cape. This is the Western Cape diabetes and COVID-19 action plan:

diabetes and covid-19 action plan

We are all in this together

If you need space to talk about the stress of living with diabetes during the time of COVID-19, please join us on Diabetic South Africans. We are South Africa’s largest online diabetes community, and you can chat to others who are living through the same things. We’re all in this together – you’re not alone.

What you need to know about coronavirus and diabetes:

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