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Diabetes and COVID-19
As we celebrate World Diabetes Day its theme this year is more poignant than ever. Focusing on ‘the nurse and diabetes’, in a year which has seen us being hit by a COVID pandemic and our health service being challenged more than ever, it seems a fitting tribute to celebrate and shine a light on nurses in this way. And as the management of diabetes continues to be an important part of our society, with one in ten people now living with diabetes and requiring support to safely manage the disease, it is more important than ever.
The World Health Organisation highlights that nurses make up 59% of health professionals, with a global shortage of nurses in 2018 standing at 5.9 million. As a result, the employment of nurses needs to grow by 8% each year to overcome any shortfalls by 2030. With diabetes in particular, nurses support to:
- Diagnose diabetes early to allow prompt treatment
- Provide self-management training and psychological support for those diagnosed with diabetes
- Prevent diabetes occurring by looking at the risk factors and promoting support in these areas
To support nurses and ensure that they can continue to help those with diabetes it is important to follow the current guidelines being set. It has been seen that the effects of COVID-19 on people with diabetes can vary from person to person but those with diabetes are more vulnerable to developing a severe illness when they have coronavirus. When ill, people with diabetes can see their blood sugar fluctuate, making it harder for the body to manage its diabetes, whilst it tries to fight off the new virus.
As a result, some useful tips to consider, to reduce the risk for a person with diabetes contracting coronavirus and especially as we navigate another lockdown with cases continuing to rise, include:
- Ensuring your diabetes management regime continues to be followed by taking the medication as normal and following the management plan
- Regularly test blood sugar levels and keep a record of all the results to allow continued oversight and management of your condition
- Have enough equipment and medication supplies should they be needed during a lockdown period
- Where you have any concerns with your diabetes management, they should be raised with your GP immediately
- Adhere to government guidelines in relation to hand hygiene and wearing face coverings
- Stay at home as much as possible and maintain social distancing rules when having contact with other people
- Be aware of the symptoms of coronavirus and do not have contact with anyone who has symptoms
- Ensure you eat well and maintain a healthy diet
- Stay hydrated
- Ensure you receive enough sleep and are rested
- Look after your mental wellbeing by staying positive
The QCS management system can further support with any questions in relation to coronavirus through its dedicated COVID-19 Hub system.
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