Covid-19: How To Stay Safe If You Have Diabetes

Covid-19: How To Stay Safe If You Have Diabetes

Covid-19 has spread its tentacles globally in a very rapid manner. Not only is the infection highly contagious, it is potentially fatal too. Thousands of deaths and new cases are being reported from various countries on a daily basis. 

There are measures such as lockdown, curfew, social distancing and suspension of international or interstate travel etc being taken by governments in a number of  countries. However, there are certain groups which are at a higher risk of getting infected compared to the young and healthy individuals. Patients suffering from chronic ailments such as Diabetes are among the categories which are more vulnerable to the virus. 

Covid-19 risk for diabetics

There are two primary reasons why a diabetes patient might be more vulnerable to the viral infections. 

1. The immune system in diabetics (Type 1 and 2 both) is weakened due to abnormal blood glucose fluctuations. 

2. The enhanced blood glucose levels could be conducive for the viral growth in the body.

Thus, when people  suffering from diabetes get infected, it becomes more difficult to treat them and the treatment period also becomes much longer. 

Precautions Diabetics Should Take

Since Covid-19 is an unknown coronavirus which is still being studied by scientists all over the world and a vaccine for the virus is still some distance away, prevention is the best medicine for diabetic people. The World Health Organization has issued a set of guidelines and constant updates on the pandemic are being issued every alternate day. These instructions which are for the general public become  even more significant for the diabetes patients and their family members/caregivers.

Here are some of the prescribed best practices that must be followed:

Need to frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with a soap and water

Since the virus can enter the body through mouth, nose and eyes, one has to be very careful about not touching the face before washing the hands and drying them.

All objects and common use surfaces such as door knobs, handles, railings,  countertops, taps etc should be regularly cleaned and disinfected to prevent contamination. 

While coughing or sneezing, you should cover your mouth and nose with either a handkerchief or a tissue. In case you don’ have a tissue handy then you can also cover  your face with the crook of your arm.  However, you shouldn’t cover your mouth or nose with your hands.

Sharing of food, glasses, towels, phones and tools should be avoided.

Make sure not to come into contact with anyone showing symptoms of any kind of respiratory problems or fever.

You must never lose sight of the fact that these changes and precautions will go a long way in protecting yourself or your dear ones. 

In case you develop any respiratory illness or symptoms of flu then we advise you to stay home and isolate yourself from your family members.

Apart from taking such preventive measures, you must also pay adequate attention to your food and relaxation during these times. Eat nutritious food that boosts your body’s strength and immunity. Eating a balanced diet helps in controlling blood glucose levels and reduce your chances of getting infected. Fried foods and food items which have a lot of sugar, carbohydrates or fat should be avoided. Try to consume more of fruits and green , leafy vegetables.

A good diet is to be complemented with an active lifestyle. You must take walks (indoors or on terrace if you are not able to step outside due to the lockdown or curfew in your area). Regular exercise, yoga, meditation etc  can be highly helpful in keeping you active, drive away obesity.  These can also help in driving obesity away and boost your mental health.

Dr. Vijay Viswanathan

He has following Achivements: Head & Chief Diabetologist of M.V. Hospital for Diabetes & Prof. M. Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre, Royapuram, Chennai. Ph.D. in Diabetic Nephropathy from Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University after M.D. Internal Medicine. First Vivian Fonseca Award from the American Diabetes Association for work in DM and TB in 2013. Trained over 2000 physicians in Prevention of Amputations. Appointed Adjunct Professor by Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University. Awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians London for Research Contribution in Diabetes. Credited with about 150 research publications on various aspects of diabetes and its complications in peer-reviewed national and international scientific journals and has also contributed about 15 book chapters.


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