Woman checks her blood glucose as part of her sick day plan

People with diabetes are being urged to make a sick day plan in case they become infected with COVID-19.

A medical director from a top diabetes centre affiliated with the University of Kentucky in America has issued a series of suggestions to help those with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes prepare should they become unwell.

Dr Kristen Stakelin, from the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center in Kentucky, said: “People with diabetes can be more susceptible to – and can become sicker if infected with – any virus, including the new coronavirus. During this outbreak of COVID-19, it is important to be calm and make smart choices; that includes being well-prepared and watchful.”

She has recommended that people who believe they have COVID-19 should test their blood glucose levels throughout the day and seek help from their doctor if numbers are much higher or lower than normal.

Dr Stakelin also said hydration is important and tissues, medication, a thermometer and plenty of test strips are important essentials to have in the house, so making sure these are available is a key part to putting together a sick day plan.

Ensuring ample diabetes medications are readily available is vital for those with the condition. To help make things easier, just last month the Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear expanded prescribing rights to pharmacists which means prescriptions can now be filled for 30 days at a time, including an emergency refill if they are not able to make contact with the person’s doctor.

Dr Stakelin said those with COVID-19 and diabetes should seek emergency help if they become short of breath, experience chest pain unrelated to sore muscles from coughing, they struggle to stay awake or have severely low blood glucose levels.

Founded in 2008, the University of Kentucky Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center is a leader in diabetes prevention, education, research and comprehensive care.

It helps more than 7,500 adults and 2,500 young people every day to manage and treat their diabetes. The centre’s mission is to work with the referring provider to issue support and assistance as needed.

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