This page is based on the latest information regarding COVID-19 and its link to diabetes and will be updated as new scientific information becomes available.

Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?

Currently, there is not enough data to demonstrate whether people with diabetes are more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. In fact, people with diabetes experience worse outcomes, but do not have a higher chance of contracting the virus. The more health conditions an individual has, the more likely they are of getting serious complications from COVID-19.

What should people with diabetes know and do?


For people living with diabetes, it is important to take the preventive measures to avoid contracting the virus.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Avoid touching your face before you have washed and dried your hands
  • Clean and disinfect any objects and surfaces that are touched frequently
  • Don’t share food, glasses, towels, tools etc.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the crook of your arm (inner side of the elbow) if you don’t have a tissue to hand
  • Try to avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing
  • If you are experiencing ill with flu-like symptoms, stay at home.

If you have diabetes:


  • Prepare in case you get ill
  • Make sure you have all relevant contact details to hand in case you need them.
  • Pay extra attention to your glucose control. Regular monitoring can help avoid complications caused by high or low blood glucose
  • If you do show flu-like symptoms (raised temperature, cough, difficulty breathing), it is important to consult a healthcare professional
  • Any infection is going to raise your glucose levels and increase your need for fluids, so make sure you can access a sufficient supply of water
  • Make sure you have a good supply of the diabetes medications you need
  • Make sure you have access to enough food.
  • Make sure you will be able to correct the situation if your sudden blood glucose drops or hypoglycemia.
  • If you live alone, make sure someone you can rely on knows you have diabetes as you may require some assistance if you get ill.
  • Keep a regular schedule, avoid overworking and focus on having a good night's sleep.

Healthy nutrition and home-based exercise

Healthy nutrition and regular physical activity is an essential component of diabetes management. Staying active during this period is crucial. Dedicating 30min daily for self-care will boost your immunity, keep you in shape, help regulate your blood glucose levels, and boost your mood. There are many fitness videos available on the internet for all levels. Choose an activity you enjoy and feel comfortable with, such as stretching, home workouts, walking/running in nature, or yoga.

It is also important for people with diabetes to eat a varied and balanced diet to keep their blood glucose levels stable and enhance their immune system. It is recommended to

  • Give priority to foods with a low glycemic index (e.g. vegetables, whole wheat pasta/noodles)
  • Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods
  • Limit consumption of foods high in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat
  • Choose lean proteins (such as fish, meat, eggs, milk, and cooked beans)
  • Eat green, leafy vegetables
  • Consume 2-3 servings of fruits

Sources
American Diabetes Association
International Diabetes Federation

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