Home Local News Coronavirus and Diabetes: What You Need to Know by Johanna Hicks, Family & Community Health Agent

Coronavirus and Diabetes: What You Need to Know by Johanna Hicks, Family & Community Health Agent




Coronavirus and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

               Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you have heard of a new and deadly virus that has quickly been spreading around the world: Coronavirus, or COVID-19, which is a highly infectious, acute respiratory disease.  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.

               Because diabetes education is my passion, I wanted to share some information from author Christine Fallabel, Diabetes Daily.  So how dangerous is the Coronavirus, and what do you need to know as a person living with diabetes?  Many people who are infected with the virus never seek treatment.  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. 

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 antimicrobial hand sanitizer with you can help to eliminate this threat.

Sometimes your diabetes gives clues when you’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.  Stay on top of your diabetes when you get ill.  This will include more frequent blood glucose testing, staying hydrated, checking ketones, and if on insulin, might require extra dosages.

Even though most cases are mild, having a chronic illness and a virus at the same time can cause major trouble.  Seek help from a physician if you suspect something is beyond your control.  Even though we are not in crisis mode concerning the Coronavirus in the United States, always be prepared with extra diabetes supplies – lancets, test strips, medications.  The main goal is to be proactive in protecting yourself and being aware of how your body responds.


Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes Series

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes and don’t know what to do next?  Are you afraid of complications?  Are you confused about which foods spike your blood glucose?  Do you know what your blood glucose ranges should be?  Are you wondering what a hemoglobin A1c is and what yours should be? 

All of these questions and concerns will be answered in this informative series!  Pharmacists, diabetes specialists, and more will be on hand to lead the sessions and allow you to interact, ask questions, and share experiences.  You still have time to sign up by calling the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office in Sulphur Springs at 903-885-3443.  Topics to be covered include glucose monitoring, nutrition/meal planning, sick day management, medications, role of physical activity, delaying/preventing complications, or if you already have complications, how to manage them.

Cost is only $25 for the entire series, payable at the first session and includes materials, refreshments, and a chance for door prizes.  Sessions will take place at the Hopkins County Extension Office on Mondays and Thursdays, March 9. 12. 16. 19, and 23. 

Closing Thought

No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined – unknown

Article by Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent

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