Wow, this year seems to be flying by. It’s already November which is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Holidays are very important to Mississippians, especially those living with diabetes. This year, the holidays will allow even more families to get together than in past years.
As the COVID-19 pandemic case numbers decline, we remind all about being mindful of the possibility for a three-pronged risk for illness this November. This risk is generated by COVID-19 variants, Influenza virus, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes has been an underlying condition for approximately four in ten COVID-19 patients, with the disease present in approximately half of those under 65 who have died from the disease. So, it’s extra critical to make sure that we have updated vaccinations for Flu and covid as we gather together.
An effective means of staying healthy during this challenging season is with improved diabetes self-care. As stated previously by Dr. Lillian Lien, director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s division of endocrinology, insulin needs can spike unexpectedly in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes during a covid infection. A similar unexpected rise in insulin requirements may appear with the flu and with RSV in both children and adults with diabetes.
That’s why the work of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi (DFM) is especially important now, said Lien, who sits on the board of directors. “It ensures that Mississippians with diabetes can access what they need to take the best care of themselves.”
So folks, we at the DFM want all Mississippians with diabetes, type 1 or type 2, and their families, to know that we continue to be here to teach you to how to live with diabetes, support you in times of crisis and be an emergency resource when you don’t know where to turn.
This Thanksgiving, many more of us may be coming together in person. We still must play the best role we can by monitoring our blood sugar levels closely, getting our covid vaccinations and boosters, and making sure that we don’t forget our flu shot this year. And, as always, practice safe personal hygiene by washing hands with soap and water regularly, consider wearing a mask if you have a cough and seek care right away for signs of illness.
For more information on diabetes management, please visit msdiabetes.org or call the DFM at (601) 957-7878.
Warren A. Jones, MD, FAAFP President Professor Emeritus, University of Mississippi School of Medicine Past President, American Academy of Family Physicians
Mary Fortune Executive Vice President Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi