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diabetes FAQ: treatment (part 3 of 5)
Section - Travelling with insulin

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Single Page )
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Top Document: diabetes FAQ: treatment (part 3 of 5)
Previous Document: What is Humalog / LysPro / lispro / ultrafast insulin?
Next Document: Injectors: Syringe and lancet reuse and disposal
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Insulin does not need to be kept cold.

Insulin is stable at body temperature. This is not surprising when you
realize that the beta cells often store the insulin they produce for
days before releasing it. (Specifically, according to Jens Brange's
_Stability of Insulin_, Regular/Actrapid insulin stored at 40C will
lose 5% of its potency after 14 weeks.)

A general guide to how long it is safe to store insulin at various
temperatures:

    Refrigerated          a few years
    Room temperature      several months
    Body temperature      a few weeks

Do not allow insulin to freeze. Do not expose insulin to temperatures
significantly above body temperature. I don't know how much heat is
required to destroy insulin, but leaving it in a closed car in the sun
would be a very bad idea. (Two readers have reported that solidly
frozen and rethawed regular insulin works just fine. I've been unable
to locate any studies documenting the degradation of insulin at extreme
temperatures.)

Short of such extremes, degradation is gradual. You should always be
alert for gradual changes in your blood glucose anyway, since
individual sensitivity to insulin changes over time for reasons
unknown. Your normal dosage adjustments will handle minor degradation
that might occur, say, from keeping insulin in a very hot room for
several weeks.

So why do drugstores (pharmacies) keep insulin refrigerated, and why are
"insulin cold packs" advertised? The drugstores are mosty just
following standard procedures. For them, it's a simple precaution not
worth violating.

As for cold packs, as long as anyone thinks they are needed, someone
will sell them. As noted, you do need to protect insulin from extremes
of temperature, and the cold packs can help at both extremes. In many
situations it may be just as effective to pack the insulin next to a
bottle of water, especially during outdoor activities when you are
carrying water anyway.

Always keep your insulin with you! Keep all your medical supplies with
you. Never pack them in checked luggage. Luggage may sit outside in hot
sun or freezing rain. If you are delayed, or your luggage is waylaid,
you could be without supplies packed in luggage.

Meter manufacturers recommend keeping meters and strips from freezing
and extreme heat.

User Contributions:

Raqiba Shihab
Report this comment as inappropriate
May 10, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Many thanks. My husband has Type 2 diabetes and we were a bit concerned about his blood sugar/glucose levels because he was experiencing symptoms of hyperglyceamia. We used a glucometer which displays the reading mg/dl so in my need to know what the difference
between and mg/dl and mmol/l is, i came across your article and was so pleased to aquire a lot more info regarding blood glucose, how to read and convert it.
Bhavani
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 11, 2012 @ 9:09 am
It was really informative and useful for people who don't know conversion. Thanks to you

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Top Document: diabetes FAQ: treatment (part 3 of 5)
Previous Document: What is Humalog / LysPro / lispro / ultrafast insulin?
Next Document: Injectors: Syringe and lancet reuse and disposal

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