We know how frightening the spread of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be for parents – especially parents of children with diabetes.
The good news is that for children with diabetes, there is no evidence this virus will be any different than most other viral respiratory illnesses. As always, an illness will require increased glucose monitoring, possible ketone testing, and increased attention to insulin and carbohydrate intake.
If any person with diabetes gets sick — from any cause— CHOC endocrinology department recommends the following:
- If you are using a glucose meter, check your glucose more often, every two to three hours at minimum.
- If you are using a continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, device such as DexCom or Libre, review the data from your continuous glucose every one to three hours to monitor for trends and adjust your insulin/food intake.
- If you are on injections, always take your long-acting insulin (such as Lantus, Levemir, Tresiba or Basaglar), even if you are eating less. If you are experiencing overnight lows, you can decrease your dose by 10%. For example, if you use 20 units nightly, then decrease down to 18 units, but if you need to decrease further for continued low blood glucose values, please contact your provider.
- If you are using an insulin pump, continue to wear the pump for basal insulin.
- Continue to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
- Check for ketones if glucose readings are higher than 300 for more than three hours.
- If you have moderate or large ketones, especially if you are vomiting, contact your provider.
- Ensure you have your diabetes supplies, and that you are not close to running out.
For type 1 diabetes–specific topics related to COVID-19, please visit JDRF.org/coronavirus.
CHOC’s endocrinology department continues to offer on-site office visits, but if you or your child is sick, please stay home and notify us that you will not be attending the visit. Our team will work with your family on alternative arrangements if you cannot make it to your scheduled visit.
For more health and wellness resources from the pediatric experts at CHOC, sign up for the Kids Health newsletter.
How to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses this season
Unfortunately, many kids get infected with respiratory illnesses in the fall and winter seasons. CHOC experts highly encourage all eligible members of households to receive their annual flu shots. Other preventative measures like good hygiene and staying home when sick can help protect families from illness. The following articles and guides provide more information.
Learn more about CHOC’s Endocrinology Services
CHOC Hospital was named one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in its 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings and ranked in the endocrinology specialty.