What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The main symptoms to look out for are:
• A cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry.
• Shortness of breath.
• Breathing difficulties.
• Fever (temperature above 38 °C or 100.4 °F).
Other symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.
Coronavirus is an umbrella name for virus transmitted to humans from animals. The current strain (COVID-19) is a new variation that until last December was not found in humans and because of that our understanding of how it operates and means to combat it are limited.
People with diabetes are considered a high-risk group because having diabetes causes the body to raise glucose levels during times of illness or stress which makes it more difficult to fight infection. Hence people with diabetes have an increased risk of moderate or severe illness.
People with diabetes have the same risk as people without diabetes of getting COVID-19 but if you get COVID-19, you are more at risk of serious illness.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19
This information is taken from the HSE website.
There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of moderate or serious illness if they get COVID-19.
Diabetes is in the ‘at risk’ group but this does not mean people with diabetes are at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
You are more at risk of serious illness if you catch COVID-19 and you:
- are 60 years of age and over – people over 70 are particularly vulnerable.
- have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, renal disease, liver disease or high blood pressure.
- have a medical condition that can affect your breathing.
- are a resident of a nursing home or other residential care setting.
- are in specialist disability care and are over 50 years of age or have an underlying health problem.
Extremely vulnerable groups
You are advised to take additional precautions i.e. cocooning, see: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/923825-guidance-on-cocooning-to-protect-people-over-70-years-and-those-extr/#what-we-mean-by-extremely-medically-vulnerable
if you are:
- people aged 70 years or over.
- solid organ transplant recipients.
- people with specific cancers.
- people with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
- people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Those who are cocooning can now leave their home and travel within a 5km radius for a drive or to exercise.
Extra care for people in at-risk groups
Everyone needs to stay at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. You should only leave your home to:
- attend medical appointments, collect medicine or other health products.
- care for children, older people or other vulnerable people – this excludes social family visits.
- exercise outdoors – within 5 kilometres of your home, keeping 2 metres distance between you and other people.
- travel to work – be sure to practice physical distancing.
Social distancing should be maintained at all times.
You are advised to:
- wash your hands well and often
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing, and discard used tissue safely
- limit your contact with others when out and about
- distance yourself at least 2 metres away from other people, especially those who might be unwell
- avoid crowded areas. If an area looks busy, go somewhere else or return at a quieter time
- wear a face covering in some situations where social distancing is not possible, for example in shops or on busy public transport. Wearing cloth face coverings may help prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others. Guidance on safe use of face coverings is available here
In addition you as a person in a high risk group are asked to:
Ask others to shop for you. They can leave supplies at your door.
If you are caring for someone in an at-risk group, follow the advice on how to protect yourself from coronavirus.
There is separate advice on the HSE website about:
- restricting your movements if you live with someone who has symptoms, a confirmed case or has returned to Ireland from another country
- self-isolating if you have symptoms of coronavirus
- cocooning for the extremely vulnerable.
Staying at home and managing your Diabetes?
Public health measures announced by the Department of Health and Department of the Taoiseach vto stop the spread of Covid 19, state that everyone should stay at home wherever possible. It is essential that you put some plans in place to ensure you can look after yourself and your Diabetes during this difficult time. We have put together some information to help you while you are out of your usual routine. Maintaining healthy eating practices, looking after your mental as well as your physical health with diabetes is also vitally important during this time.
People with diabetes should prepare themselves so that they are in best possible health and have the necessary knowledge and supplies for when they need to self-treat any illness.
There are simple things you can do today to prepare yourself:
- You should have a sick day regime to follow in case of illness – if you haven’t, get one from your diabetes team today.
- For people with Type 1 diabetes – ensure you have ketone strips.
- For people with Type 2 diabetes – know if you need to alter any medications.
- Confirm with your diabetes team, what is acceptable glucose levels if home testing and when to contact them for assistance.
- For anyone using a pump ensure they have insulins ( basal and bolus) to use in case of pump failure.
- Make sure you have two weeks supply of medication where possible – ring the pharmacy and arrange date and time for collection the week before your script needs filling. Note Pharmacists are to be allowed by law to dispense medicines outside the dates spelled out in prescriptions according to their own professional judgement. In addition, the pharmacist can only dispense one month’s supply of medications per month under the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme.
- Ensure you have an adequate supply of non-diet drinks i.e. soft drinks and simple foods that contain some sugar in case you cannot take solid foods.
- Make sure you have a thermometer – the first question you will be asked if you need to seek medical attention is have you a fever (temperature above 38 °C or 100.4 °F ).
- Do everything possible to maintain good glucose control.
- for people with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, see Diabetes Smart.
- for people with Type 1 diabetes, reinstate frequent glucose monitoring and insulin adjustment.