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People with diabetes have been urged to take extra caution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have diabetes, you’ve likely heard that COVID-19 is generally considered to be more dangerous for people with diabetes.

People with diabetes who develop COVID-19 can experience more severe symptoms and complications. In fact, studies show many of those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 end up needing intensive care.

This has left many people with diabetes wondering if things connected to COVID-19, such as the SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test, are safe for them. Antigen testing isn’t risky for people with diabetes. Read on to discover what you need to know about diabetes and antigen tests.

Antigen tests have been approved as a way to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They’re able to detect the virus in anyone who has it, including people with diabetes.

There are no limitations on who can receive, use, or purchase most antigen tests. The only exceptions are that antigen tests are generally not approved for children younger than 2 years old.

Additionally, because antigen tests use nasal swabbing, some antigen testing products aren’t recommended for people with nasal injuries or who get frequent nose bleeds.

Rapid antigen tests are safe for general use. There are no safety precautions for rapid antigen tests and any health conditions. This includes chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Additionally, antigen tests aren’t known to interfere with glucose readings. This means that testing will be accurate for SARS-CoV-2 and that your glucose levels will also still be accurate.

Rapid antigen tests are an important part of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. They don’t have any known risks, side effects, or complications.

Learn more about rapid antigen testing.

Antigen tests aren’t only used to test for SARS-CoV-2.

For instance, people with diabetes might be familiar with the antibody testing that’s done during the diabetes diagnostic process. Antibodies and antigens are closely related:

  • Antigen. An antigen is anything that causes disease in your body. This includes viruses, bacteria, fungi, chemicals, and other toxins.
  • Antibody. An antibody is a protein that binds to an antigen so that your immune system can find it and get rid of it. Antibodies are specific to the antigens they bind to.

People with diabetes often have antibody testing to determine if they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

This test is done because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which means your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body as if they were antigens.

In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system treats the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin as if they were antigens. It produces specific antibodies to help attack those cells.

An anti-insulin antibodies test is used to look for these specific antibodies. People with type 2 diabetes won’t have them, but people with type 1 diabetes often will.

COVID-19 can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes.

It’s important to take precautions and follow the current guidelines in your area if you have diabetes. You can get recommendations specific to you by entering your state and county information into this tool offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommendations are updated weekly.

Antigen testing is accurate and safe for people with diabetes. You can get an antigen test at a pharmacy, urgent care center, or doctor’s office, or even use a home kit. There are no restrictions or limits on antigen testing, and your diabetes isn’t a factor in how you use them or in your results.