As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in the United States, it is important for everyone to take the necessary precautions to help prevent infection and spread of the virus. While it is difficult to assess the unique implications of COVID-19 in people with diabetes (type 1, type 2, or gestational) at this time, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions can make patients more vulnerable to infections, leading to serious consequences. In addition, uncontrolled diabetes with hyperglycemia is known to impair immune function. Because patients with diabetes may also have many other comorbidities such as organ failure and cardiovascular disease, it is imperative to follow specific COVID-19 precautions and prevention guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and your endocrinologist or health care providers.
These actions will help patients prepare for and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Continue to take your prescribed medications
- Refill prescriptions and be prepared with medications and testing supplies to last 14 days (or up to 30 days, if not cost prohibitive) in case of worst-case scenarios (e.g. quarantine)
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially before eating or drinking and after using the restroom and blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose when possible
- Stay home when you are sick
If you present with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or wheezing, especially if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread, call or see a healthcare professional immediately. Explain any symptoms, recent travel or possible exposure to COVID-19. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
The priority of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) is the health and safety of staff, members and their patients. AACE will continue to monitor developments surrounding COVID-19 and will provide updated information regarding steps necessary to help prevent infection.