Talking to an expert on T1D and COVID-19

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Talking to an expert on T1D and COVID-19


April 22, 2020

A Q & A with Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, JDRF-funded clinical scientist and endocrinologist at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal

JDRF invited leading type 1 diabetes (T1D) expert to discuss the probability of contracting COVID-19, who is at greatest risk of getting severely ill, and what people with well-controlled T1D should do to stay healthy.

Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret shared this information and more during our Facebook Live Q & A event, which you can watch below. 



Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret also answered several live questions from the audience. We share the top themes below.

Q. Are people living with T1D at greater risk of getting infected by COVID-19?

A. No evidence suggests that at this time. Of course, should you already have T1D-related complications, it is easier to contract an infection of any kind.

Q. Are people living with T1D who work in the health care system at risk of contracting COVID-19? Should they take specific precautions?

A. The level of risk is dependent on several factors including the individual’s age, his/her degree of blood glucose control and whether he/she has T1D-related complications. Yet as generally advised, social distancing, washing hands frequently and staying at home remain best practices for these people. As well, they should postpone all clinical visits and get in touch with their health care team whether by phone or online for regular follow-ups.

Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret 

Q. Is there a worse prognosis for people living with T1D who get COVID-19?

A. We know that the consequences of a viral infection may be more significant among people with T1D as it can lead to uncontrolled blood sugar. Yet the prognosis depends on several factors including the individual’s age, his/her current degree of blood glucose control and whether he/she has a pre-existing T1D-related condition like heart disease and/or kidney disease.

Q. Is there a specific risk for contracting COVID-19 among children with T1D?

 A. We have not seen any reports with major or bad outcomes for children with T1D who have been infected with COVID-19. Even when the disease has manifested, it was extremely mild. However, blood sugar control needs to be carefully monitored in such cases and families should be prepared with extra supplies like insulin and ketone strips.

Q. Is there any risk for supply issues among companies that manufacture insulin and CGM materials?

A. At this time, all companies have stock and we anticipate no disruption in the supply chain.

Q. Which medications are safe to use?

A. Acetaminophens, like Tylenol, can be used as a first-line treatment. However, they are not anti-inflammatory and people with T1D should know these medications can sometimes interfere with certain CGMs, etc. Should you already be taking Ibuprofen (ex. Advil) for another condition such as arthritis, it is recommended to continue doing so following consultation with your health care practitioner.

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