People with Diabetes

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for people living with diabetes and their families

If you have diabetes, you are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) and according to current government guidance you should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures, including significantly limiting face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.

  1. *Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  2. *Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser. 
  3. *Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
  4. *Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information.
  5. *Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs.
  6. *Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
  7. *Use telephone or online services to contact your GP practice or other essential services.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a:

  • *New continuous cough and/or
  • *High temperature
  • * Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste -  this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

What to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms

If you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild:

  • *Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • *If you live alone, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. 
  • *If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. 
  • *Follow the advice of your GP practice, practice nurse or diabetes team regarding your medication.
  • *If you routinely check your blood sugar at home you'll probably need to do it more often.
  • *If you don't test your blood sugar levels at home, be aware of the signs of a hyper (hyperglycaemia), which include passing more urine than normal (especially at night), being very thirsty, headaches, tiredness and lethargy. You should contact your GP practice if you have hyper symptoms. 
  • *Stay hydrated – have plenty of unsweetened drinks and eat little and often.
  • *If you have type 1 diabetes, check your blood sugar at least every four hours, including during the night, and check your ketones if your blood sugar level is high (generally 15mmol/l or more, or 13mmol/l if you use an insulin pump, but your team may have given you different targets). If ketones are present, contact your diabetes team.
  • *Keep eating or drinking – if you can’t keep food down, try snacks or drinks with carbohydrates in to give you energy. Try to sip sugary drinks (such as fruit juice or non-diet cola or lemonade) or suck on glucose tablets or sweets like jelly beans. Letting fizzy drinks go flat may help keep them down. If you're vomiting, or not able to keep fluids down, get medical help as soon as possible.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency, dial 999.