Covid-19: Are Type 1’s at greater risk?

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Anxiety. This is something we Gatekeepers have become accustomed to. And now, sadly, it has become a feeling that is shared by everyone around the world.

The burning question on our minds, is if my little Warrior contracts Covid-19, how will his/her body react? Unfortunately we’ve got nothing to compare this virus to, no previous learnings, no medical journals written yet, no case studies or abundant research and findings. The virus is still in its infancy, and we’re being led by it, not the other way round. My first reaction 3 weeks ago was do what I’m naturally good at – PREPARE. Sensors, needles, alcohol swabs, insulin – I gathered supplies, like a squirrel gathers its acorns for the winter, in the hopes that whatever might come our way, we were ready for it.

With the Diabetic cupboard healthily stocked, my feelings remain unchanged with the same question pending – how my four-year old Type 1 Diabetic daughter react to this thing?

As my thumb vigorously scrolled through hundreds of articles and news releases trolling the virus and its impact on T1D’s, the same answer was shared – ‘there is not enough data’, ‘there is not enough information’, ‘we know far too little about the separate risk for people with Diabetes’. Now still, there is conflicting information, some saying T1D’s are at greater risk, others saying they’re not at an increased risk. So who or what shall we believe?

Let’s work with what we DO know

Firstly, we now know that although not all children evade the virus, they seem to be mostly unharmed by the disease. Among the few cases of children who do get it, they experience symptoms such as fever, cough, a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and sometimes pneumonia.

While we aren’t in a position yet to directly compare these symptoms to the common flu, many of us know how the flu affects our Warriors’ sugar levels and can thus, for the time being, use it as an example. Before Eva even has a fever, her levels already start spiking. Call it a heads up if you will! After ruling out the obvious cause like food, we know we’re in for an infection or virus. When this happens, we shift immediately into army mode, decreasing her carbohydrate amount for the day. We don’t want to find ourselves fighting two opponents where we don’t know if the high levels are attributed to the carbs or the virus.

Temporarily park the carbs

Riding the flu and with a carb-conscious meal plan under way, we observe even more carefully how her levels react. When the fever hits, that’s when the levels can spike even more and hence it being crucial to test for those ketones. Last year, when Eva caught an infection, she had the presence of ketones of 1.0mmol/L. Her endocrinologist advised us to do a ‘ketone flush’. What this basically is, is giving a substantially increased bolus (short-acting) dose for meals and then ‘diluting’ this extra dose with small, intermittent increments of glucose. We did exactly this, and slowly after a few hours we were able to flush those ketones out.

So, from looking how Eva is affected by the flu or infection, we can assume that if a T1D contracted the virus it would be harder to treat because of the fluctuations of glucose levels. But are T1D’s at greater risk? Since Coronavirus is a new virus, nobody has built up the immunity to it – meaning anyone can become infected, regardless of age, gender or any other factors. But some evidence suggests that those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to becoming infected by it.

With information and insight into this virus so sparse at this stage, our family has decided to just do the best thing that’s best for our Warrior and that’s Staying at home already reduces her risk drastically and puts the power in our hands, for the time being at least.

In the meantime, while we pass the days with puzzles, activities and games of UNO, we keep a good eye out for any signs of fever and sudden spikes in levels. Stay safe everyone and remember this will come to an end eventually!


Thanks for reading. Remember we’re all in this together. Without community, we’re alone. And managing this condition alone is very challenging and lonely! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles and if there’s any topic you’d like to know more about-do let me know and I’ll try to feature it in my next post! You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. Or simply subscribe below and keep up to date with my latest discoveries on this condition 🙂

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