Managing Diabetes in the Workplace
More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes today, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many are also employed, and that means going to work with a chronic health condition that needs special care.
“We have a population of 34 million people with diabetes…They are facing financial hardship, rationing their diabetes care to make ends meet, and being exposed to extra risk in the workplace. Keeping them healthy should be our number one goal. From a humanitarian standpoint, and to prevent our health care systems becoming overwhelmed, it’s clearly the right thing to do,” said Richard Wood, founder of dQ&A, a leading diabetes research company.
Diabetes increases the risk of complications from other diseases, such as flu. It also can impact many parts of the body, especially skin. According to the American Diabetes Association®, there are several things that can be done to prevent skin problems, including:
Keeping diabetes well managed. People with high glucose levels tend to have dry skin and less ability to fend off harmful bacteria. Both conditions increase the risk of infection.
- Keeping skin clean and dry.
- Using moisturizing soaps.
- Preventing dry skin. Scratching dry or itchy skin can open it up and allow infection to set in. Moisturize skin to prevent chapping, especially in cold or windy weather.
- Treating cuts right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water. Only use an antibiotic cream or ointment if a doctor says it's okay. Cover minor cuts with sterile gauze. See a doctor right away for a major cut, burn, or infection.
Many companies take steps to provide supportive resources to employees living with chronic diseases such as diabetes. The American Diabetes Association® says, “Employers know the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce to not only reduce their staff-related expenses, but also increase satisfaction and productivity.”
There are a number of simple, cost-effective products you can keep on-hand in your business to help support a healthy work environment for employees living with diabetes. You can even include those products in a customized First Aid cabinet that helps you stay prepared for many workday medical issues, not just diabetic-related ones.
Here are seven products recognized by the American Diabetes Association® as suitable for people with diabetes in the workplace. How many do you have in your place of business?
- Glucose. Each packet of fast-dissolving powder delivers 15 grams of glucose to increase low blood sugar.
- Liquid Bandage. Waterproof, long lasting and sting free, this bandage conforms to the body’s contours.
- WoundSeal®. An effective topical powder that helps stop bleeding. It forms a protective barrier in seconds and protects the wound with anti-microbial properties.
- Bleed Stop Gauze. A hemostatic, 4” x 4” gauze pad for temporary external use to control bleeding.
- Regular Strength Pain Away®. Fast, effective relief for pain and headaches. Contains acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine and salicylamide.
- QuikHeal™ Bandages. Long-lasting, hydrocolloid-based gel technology that promotes faster healing. Heals minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions, lacerations, blisters and scalds. Helps reduce scarring.
- Hand Lotion. Specially formulated with petrolatum, mineral oil and dimethicone. Non-greasy, industrial strength and concentrated to aid in healing of chapped, itchy and dry skin.
Having the right resources on hand when someone with diabetes needs them can help support productivity and overall health, and increase retention.
Looking for additional tools?
- The American Medical Association® offers a calculator to tabulate the potential cost savings of a Diabetes Prevention Program offered to your employees who are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Over 7 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes, and 1 in 3 are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (source: American Diabetes Association®). This free, online risk assessment from the American Diabetes Association® offers insights and recommendations.