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Coronavirus: Q&As for people living with diabetes

17 April 2020

We know that this is a confusing and challenging time, and that the information and guidance from official sources changes often. In this article we have put together the answers to some common questions, which we hope will help you and your family navigate handling the situation and managing your diabetes at the same time.

Please remember to follow the government and NHS guidelines at all times, these guidelines are in place to reduce the spread of the virus to keep everyone (including you and your loved ones) safe.

What is Coronavirus and what are the symptoms?1,2

This new coronavirus is a part of a family of viruses which can cause a number of different illnesses. Most of the illnesses caused by these viruses are respiratory infections, ranging from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This novel virus has been determined to cause the COVID-19 illness.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the seasonal flu, and include:

  • High temperature/fever
  • Persistent dry cough

This effects of this illness can be very mild, however they can show up more severely in some people – potentially even leading to hospitalisation.

What is a “novel virus”?

A novel virus is new virus that has not been seen before. For a novel virus people haven’t developed any immunity, and there is also no vaccine and very few diagnostic tests available. This means that the risk of people contracting and spreading the virus is higher while vaccines and tests are being developed.

How does this impact me and my diabetes?

We are still learning about this new virus and the impact, however it does seem that some people with long term conditions, including diabetes, are at an increased risk of developing complications related to their conditions if they contract the virus. Because of this, it is recommended that you be more careful about keeping yourself away from people who could potentially pass the virus on to you and your family, particularly in places such as the supermarket.

We know that a number of diabetes teams are looking at working differently and seeing how they can deliver appointments remotely using a variety of virtual tools. So you may find that any upcoming appointments become virtual rather than a face to face.

What should I do if I start to show symptoms?

If you, or anyone in your household, start to show symptoms of the virus then you should follow the local government and NHS guidelines on what to do. You can also use the online or telephone resources provided by the NHS in order to assess your symptoms.

If this happens, you should not leave the house for any reason, making sure to order supplies online for delivery and making use of any nearby family or friends who can drop off essentials on your doorstep.

If you are sick, remember to monitor your blood glucose more frequently and follow your usual sick day rules.3 If you are unsure about what to do, or need support then please contact your healthcare professional by phone. Do not attend the hospital unless you have been directed to by emergency services or a healthcare professional.

Will I still be able to get supplies for my Accu-Chek devices?

The current situation has led to unprecedented demand for insulin pump consumables and it is necessary for us to act to ensure uninterrupted supply. The maximum consumable order is being limited to one month’s supply (which is applicable to pump consumables only). Please do not order more than you, or your family member requires.

We do not have any further supply chain disruption in relation to the virus and all Accu-Chek blood glucose monitoring products are available as usual. Our manufacturing sites across the globe are operating as normal and the delivery of products to/from affected countries remains stable. Our warehouse stock is sufficiently covered to avoid customer backorders on a global and local level. We continue to work closely with our wholesale partners in the UK and Ireland and are responding to the changing demand levels to ensure that stock continues to be available for distribution to pharmacies.

Our customer carelines are open to support you with any queries you may have about your devices during this difficult time, but please be aware that we are receiving an increase in the number of calls to these lines so call waiting times may be longer than usual.

Useful Links

The NHS, UK Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) are good sources of general information about the virus. For more diabetes focused information, Diabetes UK have a dedicated page on their website. All of these websites are updated regularly as more information and guidance is available.

References:

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
  3. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/life-with-diabetes/illness

The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited or our publishers. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

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