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Fast facts about diabetes and coronavirus (COVID-19): read this now!

We are living in strange times! With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic all over the world, we all need to take extra precautions – but particularly people with diabetes.

diabetes and coronavirus

High risk condition

We know that having an existing condition like diabetes makes us more at risk, and that diabetes can lead to a weakened immune system. We also know that stress raises blood sugar, and high blood sugar is not good for health. So what should we do? Eat healthy, stay active, check your blood sugar, look after yourself.

There’s a balance between staying informed and getting obsessed. It’s important to understand the risks and precautions that you need to take, and you can take a look at the entire coronavirus data pack here – it is fascinating. Remember, though, that much of this data is from last week and from China, so it’s not exactly the same situation as in South Africa.

If you find yourself reading the news more than usual, and notice that you’re feeling more stressed and anxious than usual, try to dial back on the news. You can stay informed by checking on the situation once a day: you don’t need minute-by-minute updates.

The most important thing to consider is your health and the health of those around you – and that includes mental health!

Here’s a helpful video about diabetes and mental health from a South African psychologist living with Type 1 diabetes.

How to deal with diabetes and coronavirus

So what do we do as people with diabetes living in South Africa? We don’t panic, and we take care. Here are 5 things to remember about coronavirus and diabetes.

coronavirus diabetes tips

We are all in this together. If you need some other people with diabetes to talk to, please join Diabetic South Africans on Facebook. Remember to be kind. Remember to breathe. We’ll get through this!

Do you have anything to add? Join our Facebook community and let us know!

What to read next?

The one article you should read about COVID-19 and diabetes: We asked Professor Joel Dave, one of South Africa’s top endocrinologists and the head of endocrinology at UCT and Groote Schuur, for his advice.

Should diabetics get the COVID-19 vaccine?Prof. Dave has been working the COVID wards and has a deep understanding of what it’s like for people with diabetes to get COVID-19.

What the research tells us about COVID-19 and diabetes: The diabetes and COVID-19 research is fascinating because it highlights what we saw in South Africa at the height of the pandemic, but also because it gives us an idea of what could lie in the future.

What do we know about COVID-19 and diabetes?: There’s not enough data in South Africa to report on diabetic stats from our own country, but we do know that it’s one of the top co-morbidities for COVID-19.

What to read next
Join South Africans with Diabetes on Facebook

Join our diabetes community


  1. Colleen St Claire Colleen St Claire

    If I’m isolated and not in contact with anyone, I dont see a need to continually wash my hands. Besides I do have a very strong imune system, I am cronic hypo diabetic, But I am okay.

    • Sounds good, Colleen! People who aren’t able to self-isolate need to wash their hands all the time, but if you’re able to limit contact that’s great!

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.