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(Taken from Diabetes UK March 2020)

Coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with diabetes, as well as in older people and those with other long-term conditions such as cancer or chronic lung disease. 

If you have diabetes and have either a new continuous cough or a high temperature you should stay at home for seven days and continue taking your medication.

Do not go to a GP practice, pharmacy or hospital. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

Sick day rules

If you have diabetes and you become unwell for any reason, it’s important that you follow the ‘sick day rules’ listed below. However, if you have symptoms of coronavirus you should not visit your GP practice or hospital – contact them by phone instead.

  • If you routinely check your blood sugar at home you'll probably need to do it more often. This will depend on your normal medications and how you use insulin.

  • 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. Contact your GP 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 containing carbohydrates 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.

The Diabetes UK web page is regularly updated with advice and support

Stay well and look after yourselves.

Claire Henke, lead diabetes specialist nurse, and the diabetes team at Frimley Health
Frimley Park hospital 01276 604701 Bleep 52250
Wexham Park hospital 01753 633000 Ex 15468