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Keep healthy during COVID-19

Managing your diabetes can be challenging at the best of times. But during COVID-19, it’s even more important to be prepared and make your health a priority.

The best thing you can do to look after your health over the coming months is to be prepared.

  1. Have a flu shot

In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, you can get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and from the flu and are more likely to develop serious respiratory illnesses than people without diabetes.

This year more than ever, it’s important to keep yourself, your family and your community safe. So be prepared and arrange your flu shot today.

The flu shot is free for people with diabetes, however, some GPs and pharmacies will charge a service fee. Ask when you make your appointment if there will be a service fee or cost to you.

Be sure to phone first. GP practices and pharmacies have special arrangements in place to keep you safe when you visit.

  1. Have a plan if you get sick with a respiratory or other illness

When you have diabetes, other illnesses or infections can affect your glucose levels and your diabetes management.

Being prepared can help you to know what to do if you get sick.

That’s why it’s important to have your own “sick day” management plan—before you get sick.

Sick day checklist

  • Let someone know if you are unwell with a cold, flu, infection or other illness.
  • Check your glucose levels more often—you may need to change the dose of some medicines and consult your doctor or credentialled diabetes educator (CDE) by phone if you are unsure.
  • If you have type 1 diabetes, check for ketones using blood ketone strips and a meter, or urine strips. Some people with type 2 diabetes taking certain medications may also need to check for ketones when unwell. Keep taking your diabetes medications or insulin dose(s). You may need to increase your insulin dose—consult your doctor by phone if you are unsure.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep eating (if possible).
  • Ask for help—phone your doctor or your credentialled diabetes educator (CDE).
  • Don’t delay or put off seeking medical care.

For more information, see:

  1. Have enough diabetes medicines and products—but don’t stockpile

It’s important NOT to stockpile diabetes medications or NDSS products right now. There is currently plenty of supply for everyone with diabetes who needs them. But if some people stockpile this may cause local shortages and mean other people with diabetes have trouble getting their medicines or products.

To ensure there are enough NDSS products for everyone, we have implemented some temporary limits on NDSS products, including blood glucose monitoring strips, pen needles, syringes and insulin pump consumables. More product information here.

We’ve made some other changes to make it easier for all people with diabetes to access the products and services they need including:

  1. Stay connected with your health care team

Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay connected to your diabetes healthcare team. They are still available to support you during COVID-19—and can do this safely either by telehealth or with precautions in place at practices.

Do not skip or defer your regular medical appointments with your doctor (GP or specialist), credentialled diabetes educator and other health professionals during COVID-19. They need to monitor your diabetes and your health.

If something changes with your eyes and vision, or you notice foot problems, or you are worried or have questions about your diabetes—seek advice from a health professional.

If you are worried about visiting a medical practice in person, contact them by phone to discuss your concerns. Doctors and other healthcare professionals have processes in place to manage social distancing and many are able to provide phone or video consultations (telehealth).

Be sure to have your healthcare professional’s contact details on hand in case you become sick.

We’ve also extended the hours for the NDSS National Helpline. Help is available on 1800 637 700 from:

  • Monday to Friday – 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Saturday – 9:00am to 2:00pm

COVID-19 is a difficult time. But we are here to support you. Being prepared and keeping healthy is your best defence against coronavirus. For more information on how to stay well keep checking in at for regular updates and useful information.

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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