While it may be 72 and sunny here in Southern California, my Facebook feed is filled with snowy weather reports and ski jacket-clad friends from the East Coast and Midwest. So, with temperatures dropping, we thought…what better time to revisit one of Naomi’s great posts on proper insulin storage? Hope you find this as helpful… and stay warm!
A common topic around here is “How can we help customers with unexplained high numbers?” One of the reasons that continues to come up for potential high numbers without one realizing it, is insulin. So for customers like me, who rely on insulin to stay alive, here are 3 questions to ask yourself when filling up that next reservoir.
1. Has the insulin been sitting out in extreme temperatures?
As we have survived the summer months and will now be experiencing the colder (well, in SoCal, we will experience “cooler”) weather, it’s important to keep the temperature of your insulin in mind. Look at the package insert from your insulin manufacturer to confirm this, but typically insulin should never be stored in extreme temperatures (under 36 F or over 86 F). This means, don’t put it in places like a freezer or the glove box of your car! So if your insulin goes something along the lines of the Katy Perry song “You’re hot then you’re cold”, you may really want to think through the best way to store it.
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: Make sure to not only think about storing insulin at consistent temperatures while at home, but plan ahead when you are travelling (like calling the hotel where you’re staying to make sure there is a fridge there.)
2. Is the insulin expired?
With random bottles of insulin in the three fridges in my house, some full, some halfway, while some hold only a small amount, it makes it hard to remember when I last filled my prescription. Check with your insulin manufacturer, but the average days you can use a vial is around 28 days. After 10 years with diabetes, this blog post is prompting me to start paying better attention to my insulin vials, and to document when I begin to use a bottle, even with something as simple as writing the date with a Sharpie on the bottle. I have enough high numbers from things like Thai food, so I might as well take expired insulin off the list of reasons for potential highs!
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: If your insulin is well within the expiration date but does not seem to bring your high BGs down with a correction bolus, contact your healthcare provider and insulin manufacturer to discuss possible issues with the insulin.
3. Is the insulin cloudy?
This is something easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of life when you are changing out that reservoir every 2-3 days. So before you fill up the reservoir, take a peek at your vial. If it appears to be cloudy or has visible crystals or particles, it is considered denatured (broken down) insulin and you should consider using a different vial if you have one available.
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: Denatured insulin can also cause clogs in your infusion set and trigger alarms so when in doubt, change it out.
I hope my information and the tips from the 24-Hour HelpLine come in handy. It is yet another reminder to me of how important it is to not just go with the flow, but to stop every now and then and really pay attention!
Tags: cold weather