People with diabetes should be particularly stringent in following the social distancing measures put in place to help tackle the spread of coronavirus, according to guidance issued by Diabetes UK.

Latest Government advice is regularly updated on the charity’s website including whether or not to attend hospital appointments and when to contact your doctor about medication.

A Diabetes UK spokesman said: “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.”

Those displaying even mild symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should:

  • 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 someone who has a continuous cough or a high temperature, you should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. If you then develop symptoms, you should stay at home for 7 days from the day your symptoms start, even if it means you’re at home for longer than 14 days.
  • 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 check 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) or 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. 

A Diabetes UK spokesman added: “As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact on all of our lives, there’s a lot of confusion about what the current advice means for you. 

“At Diabetes UK, we’re constantly talking to the government, decision makers and health services across the UK to make sure people with diabetes and their families get the support they need. And it’s no different right now. We’re fighting your corner, and taking your concerns to the relevant government departments and decision makers within the health system. “

To access more information from Diabetes UK and the latest guidance that the charity is issuing, click here.