DSA – Take extra care during corona virus pandemic

Diabetes South Africa warns patients to pay extra attention to their glucose control by taking medications as prescribed, eating regularly and getting enough exercise.


People with diabetes are more prone to infection during COVID-19 if their blood glucose levels are not well-controlled, Diabetes South Africa (DSA) has warned. In turn, people living with diabetes also often find it hard to manage their condition if they develop an infection.

DSA warns patients to pay extra attention to their glucose control by taking medications as prescribed, eating regularly and getting enough exercise.

Recent data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that up to 7% of South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79 years have diabetes. Based on the latest population estimates, this means that up to 3.,85 million South Africans in this age group may have diabetes.

Margot Mc Cumisky of DSA says, “While we are still gathering data in learning more about the risks COVID-19 poses to people living with diabetes, initial findings globally indicate that progression to severe illness is more likely in people with diabetes. For many people with diabetes, taking extra precaution will best improve their outcomes.”

Other actions recommended by DSA include:

  • If you have a blood glucose testing machine, test your blood glucose levels regularly and keep a supply of test strips, lancets and batteries.
  • Increase fluid intake (non-sugar) with enough water and electrolytes.
  • You must continue to take your medication even when ill, as your blood glucose levels can rise quickly when you have an infection.
  • Make sure you have a sufficient supply of your medication in case you become ill.
  • Store insulin correctly. If you do not have a fridge, insulin can be stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for up to a month.
  • Keep a list of your medications and dosages handy in case you need to be hospitalised.

Mc Cumisky adds, “People living with diabetes who manage their blood glucose levels well, recover much quicker from an infection and are less likely to develop complications.”

DSA needs your help

DSA calls on South Africans to please donate to its cause to help it continue to support people both young and old in all communities throughout South Africa, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. To donate go to www.diabetesa.org.za or contact us.

Diabetes help line

DSA wants to advise and support you to stay healthy. For any health queries, send a text message via WhatsApp to 081 578 6636 or send an email to diabeteshelp@sancda.org.za. You message us, and we call back or reply between 08:00 and 17:00.

Leave a voice or WhatsApp message in English or Afrikaans. Tell us your name, cell number or email and a few words about your diabetes challenge and we will get back to you.

Please do not use the diabetes helpline in the case of emergencies rather call an ambulance or seek medical assistance.

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