Latino Diabetes

COVID-19: Protect Youself

Facing diabetes and COVID-19 together

COVID-19: Protect Yourself

How can I protect myself from catching COVID-19?

The same steps help protect everyone from catching COVID-19, irrespective if you have diabetes or not. If you live with diabetes, you may have learned to be extra aware of how you feel; this can be very helpful as you follow these steps to protect yourself.

Check this website every day. New information will be posted as the situation changes and we learn more. Encourage others to take these same steps. If there are children in your house, do your best to teach them to do the same.

  • IMPORTANT: The COVID-19 virus hates soap and water. Wash your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub (with at least 60% alcohol – vodka or tequila do not work!) many times every day and especially after coming home, touching an area that other people touch often (such as a door or shopping cart handle), blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. To be sure you wash long enough, sing “Happy Birthday” twice or “Los Pollitos.”
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue. Then immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay as far away as possible (at least 6 feet) from anyone outside of your household- this is called “social distancing.”
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is harder than it might seem.
  • Avoid touching surfaces in public places – door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something. Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Clean and disinfect your home daily to remove germs on frequently touched surfaces such as cell phones, doorknobs, light switches, handles, tables, desks, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Make sure you have good airflow in your home (for example, open a window or turn on the air conditioner).
  • Stay home as much as possible. Reschedule non-urgent medical appointments. Alternatively, use telehealth or in-home care.
  • Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and low fever (100° F or above).
  • Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs. If you develop fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, bluish lips or face, seek medical advice as quickly as possible. Call the clinic or hospital before going there. If you have an emergency and need immediate medical care, call 9-1-1.
  • Identify family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers who can provide support and care if you or your caregiver get sick. Tell those around you what medications, food, medical supplies, and assistance you may need for your normal diabetes care and/or for illness due to COVID-19. Be sure that people who come to your home have no fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms. Maintain social distance at all times with them.
  • Create a plan of action in case of illness in the household due to COVID-19:
    • Consider a 2-week supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
    • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers) using your phone or computer.
    • Make back-up plans for work, childcare, and eldercare.

COVID-19 APP Available

There is an app (in English only at the moment) that provides advice about COVID-19 including if you are at risk and what you should do. You can find it here: https://www.apple.com/covid19/

COVID-19 NEWS

COVID-19 and alcohol are a dangerous mix

As the U.S. and other countries went into lockdown, saving lives from COVID-19 was the main priority. Many people reacted by buying alcohol to drink at home while in isolation. Now, as lockdown ends, we are likely to see the impact of alcohol’s harm. Two groups especially need our attention: those already struggling with alcohol dependence and those close to becoming dependent on alcohol during lockdown. For them, dependence will be triggered by sadness about a loss, job insecurity, or troubled relationships. Alcohol is strongly associated with domestic violence, and we know that there was an increase in the number of calls to domestic violence organizations during lockdown. We all must be prepared to support and help going forward.

COVID-19 quarantine may be bad for mental health

Experiences from previous pandemics show that social isolation can be very bad for mental health. After the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in the U.S., scores of post-traumatic stress were four times higher in children in quarantine at home compared to those not quarantined. This high stress level also applied to parents too. Almost 30% of quarantined parents reported symptoms of mental health disorders, such as trauma and anxiety. When people returned to their daily lives after SARS, many reported avoiding people who were coughing and sneezing and avoiding crowded and public spaces for many weeks. We are likely to see similar effects over the weeks and months after COVID-19.

Telehealth moving into the mainstream

Telehealth has existed for a while, but it was never a routine part of healthcare. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more doctor’s appointments are taking place using telehealth. This technology has been especially popular as part of routine diabetes care. Before, the major barrier to telehealth was not the technology or people. Rather, the biggest challenge was how to pay for it. This is changing, and now more doctors are excited to continue using telehealth with their patients. The main benefits include ease and convenience, a decrease in travel and pollution, and an opportunity for new types of group visits and support groups and with other people with diabetes. The COVID-19 crisis is giving healthcare providers valuable experience about what works well and does not work well in virtual visits. This will help improve telehealth in the future.