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Jessica L. Giffin, MPH, CHES, NBC-HWC, Director of Health Partnerships, YMCA of Metro Denver 

November marks the beginning of the holiday season – a festive time when our thoughts turn to re-connecting with friends and loved ones to celebrate the holidays. During the colder Colorado months, we are gathering for celebrations that take place indoors and, as we know, that can put some of us at greater risk. Did you know that older adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes can be at higher risk for becoming very ill, particularly with COVID-19?  

During November – National Diabetes Awareness Month – it is a call to action for those at risk but there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. 

Get Vaccinated 

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, coronavirus vaccines have prevented 265,000 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths from the virus in the first five months of this year.  

Older adults with multiple underlying medical conditions are most at risk of serious illness. Throughout Denver and the state, there are many sites where you can get immunized. Check the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine and convenient location of vaccine clinics. 

Take Precautions While Traveling 

Even though you may be vaccinated for COVID-19, there are rare breakthrough cases. In recent domestic travel guidance, the Centers for Disease Control recommends for those who are vaccinated to wear a mask and take precautions like hand washing and social distancing and then self-monitor for symptoms post travel. For those who are unvaccinated, the recommendation is to take the same precautions in addition to getting tested 1-3 days before travel and 3-5 days after travel.  

Reduce Your Diabetes Risk  

Your age, lifestyle and being overweight can put you at risk for diabetes. Take a risk test or ask your doctor for a blood test. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be permanent. 

If you have prediabetes, there are things you can do to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. Consider joining the YMCA Diabetes Prevention program. Trained staff can help you make healthy food choices, get physically active and, in turn, lose weight. All of which can make a big difference! For those with Medicare Part B and United Health Care Advantage, the YMCA program is covered. 

Stay healthy and safe this holiday season and beyond!