December 21, 2021
COVID & Diabetes: ‘Tis The Holiday Season To Be Healthy
Stay safe and healthy this holiday season. We'll address common questions like, is it safe to travel, and provide tips for people living with diabetes to celebrate the holidays.
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It’s safe to say there hasn’t been a holiday season in recent memory quite like the one we’re experiencing right now. Since March 2020, the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic – and, even though vaccines are now readily available, not everyone you know is vaccinated. And that means that many time-honored traditions, like door-to-door caroling, crowded parties, and Christmas Eve church services, have gone from “ho, ho, ho” to “no, no, no” this December.
If you’re juggling the “new normal” of life in 2021 with the everyday struggles that come with living with diabetes, things can get even more complicated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to celebrate the season – you just have to be careful and plan ahead. Here are some ways you can stay safe while enjoying the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Merry Risk-Mas: Is It Safe To Travel With Diabetes During The COVID?
According to the American Diabetes Association, it’s still too early to say conclusively whether or not people with diabetes have an increased risk of getting COVID-19. However, you still need to take the pandemic seriously – people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience worse complications from the disease if they do get it, and the same could be true for people with type 1 or gestational diabetes.
That’s why it’s especially important for you to continue wearing a mask in public, observing social distancing guidelines, and washing your hands regularly.
You can also reduce your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 by taking some basic steps to manage your diabetes.
With that in mind, make sure to:
- Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet. Your meals should include complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats. Additionally, you’ll want to keep portion sizes under control and count carbohydrates.
- Work out regularly. Physical activity can help decrease your blood sugar level, but it’s important to talk to your doctor about your exercise regimen. They can help you develop an exercise schedule that works for you and determine what your blood sugar level should be before you start working out.
- Take medications as prescribed. Make sure your insulin is stored properly and that it hasn’t expired. If any medications you take to help manage diabetes make your blood sugar level too low, or if your blood sugar level is often too high, let your doctor know.
Keep Insulin & Other Diabetes Medical Supplies In Stock
During the first few months of the pandemic, an article posted on diaTribe stated that the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t severely impacted the supply chains for insulin and other diabetes medications. That’s backed up by the American Diabetes Association’s website, which claims manufacturers have not been affected by the pandemic.
Of course, it’s always good to be prepared – especially when it comes to something as important as insulin. diaTribe suggests that you call your doctor to ensure your insulin prescriptions (and any related supplies, like syringes/pens, insulin pump supplies, needles, and alcohol swabs) are up-to-date and that you have as many refills as possible.
Additionally, keep up on changes to your prescription refill policy and consider using a mail-order service for prescriptions to minimize the need to leave home. US MED delivers 90-day supplies directly to your door and provides easy reordering options for a 100% contact-free process.
In a worst-case scenario and need insulin ASAP? You can buy over-the-counter insulin at Walmart for $25 without a prescription or insurance. It’s called Novolin ReliOn Insulin, and you can find it as regular insulin or NPH insulin. (These insulins don’t work the same way that analog insulins do, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before using them.)
Otherwise, you can visit a local pharmacy/community health clinic for financial assistance related to accessing insulin. You can also call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES to learn more.
Should We Stay Home For The Holidays?
For centuries, the holiday season has been a time for family and togetherness. So despite the risks involved, it may be tempting to celebrate with your loved ones from other households – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea.
On its official website, the CDC has said that in-person gatherings with people you do not live with can raise your likelihood of getting COVID-19 or other diseases. So even if it would be unthinkable in a normal year, you may want to consider celebrating the holidays virtually with your family and friends in 2020. While it won’t be the same as a traditional holiday celebration, it’s the safest way to observe the season by far.
However, if you do end up hosting or attending a small holiday gathering this month, there are still some steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of catching COVID-19.
- Avoid holding indoor gatherings when possible. Outdoor gatherings are a safer alternative, but guests should still wear masks while they aren’t eating or drinking.
- When meeting indoors, make sure you have enough ventilation. Some ways you can accomplish this include opening windows and doors (when the weather allows) or by setting your central air and heating to circulate air continuously.
- Continue to observe social distancing guidelines. Attendance at your gathering should be limited to the point where people from different households can consistently stay at least six feet apart.
Looking Towards The Future
With any luck, 2021’s unusual (to say the least) holiday season will be one of the last pandemic-holidays, allowing us to fully enjoy the seasonal traditions we cherish by this time next year. In the short term, though, it’s more important than ever for you to focus on protecting your well-being and the well-being of others. Hopefully, the tips we’ve shared here will make it easier for you to stay healthy in these unprecedented times.
Here at US MED, we’d like to wish you happy holidays – and, hopefully, a much happier new year!