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My O-Micron! Answering Questions Regarding Boosters and the Omicron Variant

All kidding aside with the title of this section, like others, you may have questions about Omicron, the COVID-19 variant that is taking the world by storm.  Here are some updates to keep things in perspective.

What is Omicron?

  • A newer COVID-19 variant of concern.  It was first brought to our attention by astute clinicians in South Africa on November 24, 2021.  It has since been noted that it was already / is present in other countries around the world too.

How does it compare to the Delta variant?

  • Much more easy to catch than the Delta variant.  And by the time this goes to print, it is expected to be the dominant strain in Canada and many other countries around the world.
  • Each Omicron case infects four to eight times more people than the Delta variant.
  • If you look at graphs of COVID-19 “waves”, the recent Omicron section looks more like a steep cliff – that means lots of people are getting it in a very short period of time.

I had COVID-19 or the Delta variant, am I immune to Omicron?

  • Unfortunately, Omicron is able to infect you even if you have been previously infected with Delta and had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s up with the recent push for 3rd / booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

  • TWO doses of vaccine would have been 70-90% protective against Delta, but TWO doses is only 30-40% protective against Omicron. 
  • The 3rd dose will increase your antibodies against COIVD-19 by 25-35%.  Omicron is less able to infect you if you get THREE doses of COVID-19 vaccine.  The 3rd dose is important to get ASAP!  

I’ve heard Omicron is very contagious, but “mild” and will make people less sick – so why bother with the 3rd dose?

  • Omicron is very infectious.  Many more people will get it, even those who are vaccinated.  But those who are vaccinated tend to fare better.
  • If 3rd dose vaccination prevents more people overall from getting Omicron, that still helps our hospitals and ICUs.  Reason: Even if only a small percentage of people who get Omicron need the hospital or ICU, if there are many, many more people getting Omicron, a small percentage of many, many people may still be too many people than we have ICU beds for.  As an example, 5% of a very large pie is more pie than a 5% of a small pie.  They are both “only” 5%, but in absolute size – or in the case of Omicron, the actual number of people – the bigger the pie, the bigger the entity of what we get to handle.
  • We know those with diabetes that get COVID-19 don’t tend to do as well as people without diabetes – fare worse, longer recovery, increased rate of death.  So if you have diabetes, it is important to protect yourself and decrease your risk of getting this.

Here’s a question for you:  If you have diabetes and get ill, dehydrated or have a loss of appetite, do you know how to adjust your insulin or know which medications to temporarily stop taking? 

  • If you are not sure how to adjust your insulin during illness, or whether you need to stop any of your other medications, we encourage you to ask your Certified Diabetes Educator or healthcare provider.
  • If you live in Ontario, please book an appointment to receive a free, personalized Sick  Day Care Plan from the Diabetes Depot CDE Pharmacist via [email protected]
CategoriesBlog post

Reminder: Check Your Medications Before Heading Back-to-School

Going back to school next month?  Here are some medication reminders to help prepare.

Taking Insulin?  Check your glucagon

If you take insulin, it’s best to have glucagon available in the event of severe hypoglycemia.

Glucagon injections, as with all medications, have an expiry.  Before school starts is a good time to check your supply to be sure it isn’t expired.

Glucagon is now also available in a nasal powder version, called Baqsimi.  The nasal spray version is very easy to use (no injection training required) and tends to have a longer expiry date.

Have severe allergies?  Check your epinephrine injection

If you have life-threatening allergies, you likely have been prescribed an epinephrine injection.  Before school starts is a good time to check your supply to be sure it isn’t expired, especially if you must leave one at school or the daycare centre.

In Canada, there are 3 auto-injection device versions of this:

  • EpiPen – in 0.15mg and 0.3mg strengths
  • Allerject – in 0.15mg and 0.3mg strengths, with a built-in “talking box” giving the user directions
  • Emerade – in 0.3mg and 0.5mg strengths

The 0.5mg strength is no typo – it’s a newer, higher dose version.  If you need help to know which strength of epinephrine device you should get, or have coverage question, please contact our Diabetes Depot pharmacist [email protected]

Are you a university student?  Consider having an “emergency box”

If you take insulin, you already know it’s a good idea to have glucagon on hand.  Just also make sure your housemates or residence friends know when to use it, where you keep it and how to use it, if required. 

Here are some other items to consider putting together in an “emergency box”:

  • If you use an insulin pump, extra batteries are always good to have around
  • First aid supplies – an inexpensive way to have these items on hand is to get a mini first aid kit from the dollar store
  • Tweezers – especially if you are in a tick-prone area or will be making excursions into the woods
  • Over-the-counter medications such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain – because when you have a headache is exactly when you don’t want to have to go out to get something for it
  • Naloxone kit – even if you do not take recreational drugs, this is something to have on hand that may save someone else’s life.  And they are available free from pharmacies.
  • Flashlight and batteries

Your Diabetes Depot Pharmacist

Have questions about your medications?  Need to get others in your care circle trained in case of an emergency?  Diabetes Depot is operated by LMC Pharmacy-Brampton.   Our Certified Diabetes Educator pharmacists are here to help with titrations, medication concerns, coverage questions, and group training for items such as glucagon and epinephrine.  Our LMC Certified Pump Trainers are also here to help troubleshoot with your pump.  These services are available at no charge to Ontario clients of Diabetes Depot.  Contact us at [email protected]

Have a great, safe and healthy school year!

CategoriesBlog post,  Uncategorized

Have T1D and wonder if your child or other family members might too?

TrialNet screens family members (parents, siblings, cousins, etc.) of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for diabetes-related markers. These can show up in your blood years before symptoms appear. Approximately 5% of relatives will have these markers, and they show that you are at a higher risk of developing T1D in the future. If you test positive for the markers, TrialNet offers additional monitoring to help watch for signs of T1D and prevention studies where they are looking for a treatment to delay or prevent disease progression.

Family members can screen with an at-home kit that you do with a finger poke or with a test-kit that you bring to a local lab for a blood draw. Both options are at no cost to you. 

If you or your family members are interested in signing up for the screening or have questions, feel free to email [email protected] or visit their website https://www.trialnet.org/participate.

Detect future risk of T1D and advance important research!

CategoriesBlog post,  Product Update

Diabetes Depot Product Updates & Savings – Tandem, Ypsomed and Dexcom News!

ICYMI – Diabetes Depot now carries Tandem and Ypsomed insulin pump supplies!  We’d appreciate if you spread the word and let your fellow pumpers know. 

As well, we’d like to share some savings codes to use on your next order:

  • DD10SUMMER – $10 off your next order of $100 or more, for being a loyal Diabetes Depot client
  • DDEPOT25 – $25 off a first order of $100 or more, for sharing with friends

Dexcom is coming!  Please keep your eyes out in September for Dexcom Sensors and Transmitters!  At time of writing, Dexcom is covered by public health plans in BC, Saskatchewan and Quebec, as well as through some private plans in a manner similar to processing prescriptions!  Since Diabetes Depot is operated by LMC Pharmacy-Brampton, we can also process Dexcom through online insurance drug plans too.  If you have questions about whether your plan covers Dexcom, please ask us at [email protected]

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