– urges diabetics to safeguard themselves
Among those most at risk of being infected with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, are the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as lung, kidney and heart diseases, diabetes and compromised immune systems. Against this backdrop, the Guyana Diabetic Association has decided to take protective action in the quest to help safeguard its membership.
This has included the cancelling of its monthly meetings at the Nurses Association Hall. Moreover, diabetics are advised not to turn up for meetings until further notice.
This is according to the Association’s President, Ms. Glynis Beaton.
A diabetic herself, Ms. Beaton has an appreciation for the risk the coronavirus poses to persons diagnosed with diabetes.
“It is a pneumonia and not a flu, and the diabetics are very vulnerable. One reason for that is that their blood sugar is not [naturally] controlled and they might have underlying complications that cannot assist the process of getting them well, and as we all know, it [impact] is respiratory [in nature], and when it is respiratory the risk is increased for diabetics,” Beaton divulged.
In addition to keeping hydrated, Beaton said that, most importantly, diabetics must ensure that they strive to control their blood sugar level.
“If nothing else, they have to be controlling their blood sugar level 24/7,” said Beaton who underscored that the Association will do all within its power to ensure that useful information and help, where necessary, is forthcoming to diabetics. Diabetics in need of assistance can contact the Association on 600-1152.
According to Beaton, while the Association will have insulin that can be availed to diabetics, these can only be administered by doctors, a major faction of the frontline workers who are already hard-pressed in the response to COVID-19.
“For them to get insulin we have to know their blood sugar level; they have to be tested,” said Beaton, as she sought to highlight the potential of the disease becoming a “serious, serious hazard” to a country.
Reiterating the Association’s intent to help its own, Beaton said, “we cannot afford to not take necessary steps. If you think it’s bad now, let 20 persons get infected then you will see the pressure on the health sector…we will not be able to look after an increasing number of persons, and that is how the disease will spread if it is not contained.”
Warding off COVID-19 could start with simple hygienic measures such as frequent hand-washing or sanitising of hands. “If you go on the streets, sanitise; if you go to mall, sanitise; avoid crowds…if you need to be in public take care of yourself,” Beaton urged. In fact, she added the importance of diabetics making a deliberate effort to “Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing or if they have a fever. If a diabetic by any chance picks up an infection and gets a fever, they’ve got to get it fixed right away.”
Social distancing has been one of the recommendations being embraced to combat the disease. As such, Beaton said, “diabetics in particular need to reduce their socialisation in order to save themselves.” Added to this, the Association President’s appeal to diabetics is, “you can’t skip medication in this period and proper hygiene at the highest level has to be maintained.”
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