INSULIN STORAGE RULES:
How to properly store your insulin
Let’s get straight into it and remind ourselves the basic rules of insulin storage. Whether you stay at home or travel around the World with insulin, you should know how to properly store your insulin in order for it not to go bad or inefficient.
INSULIN STORAGE TEMPERATURE
The general rule is that insulin that is not in use, whether it’s contained in pens, vials or cartridges, should be stored in your refrigerator (between 2°C and 8°C / between 35.6°F and 46.4°F).
I say “general” because there are always a few exceptions to the rule. Although insulin drug manufacturers seems to all share the same insulin storage chart, some insulins might have a slightly different storage specificity. Double check with the patient notice of your own insulin brand just to be sure!
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP INSULIN OUT OF THE FRIDGE?
According to diabetes drug manufacturers, open insulin (the one that you’re using right now) can be kept out of the fridge for 28 days. But reality is not that strict… If you still have some after 28 days, you can actually push up to 30, 32, or even more. That’s only if you’ve been very careful to keep your insulin away from high temperatures (over 25°C / 77°F).
In any case, if you have the feeling something is not as usual (color, look, effectiveness etc.) stop using this insulin, through it away and take a new one.
CAN INSULIN FREEZE?
YES! Insulin can freeze. And that’s not good. Do not use frozen insulin, even after thawing. The mere fact that it froze has probably broken your insulin. It will be much less effective, if not completely useless.
So, if you’re traveling with insulin in very cold places where you think it could freeze, never leave it alone. Keep it on you, close to your body, inside the interior pocket of your jacket for example. Your body warmth should be enough to forbid freezing.
CAN INSULIN GO BAD?
YES! Insulin can go bad. Especially if exposed to high temperatures and direct sunlight. As a general tip, always keep your insulin in the shade! Do not leave it in the car on a sunny day, do not store it near the cooker, and do not leave it in your leather bag in the sun on the beach…
But don’t get too stressed about it neither. It’s mostly common-sense practice. You won’t destroy your insulin simply by walking one hour under a strong Mexican sun at 35°C / 95°F. But if you do it every day, or for an entire full day, you should definitely use an insulin cooler bag, such as those we’re reviewing in our following article.
If you spend time with an outside temperature over 25C / 77F, think about using cooling devices for your insulin to stay at an appropriate temperature.
FRIO Insulin cooling cases are very practical and do the job perfectly.
CLOUDY INSULIN HAS GONE BAD
You most probably will be able to see by yourself if your insulin has gone bad. If you notice any changes of aspect (cloudy, lumpy…), your insulin has probably gone bad.
And unfortunately, you’ll rapidly notice if your insulin has gone bad: your blood sugars won’t go down that easily! If you have any doubts, throw away your current insulin, and get a new pen or vial freshly out of your storage fridge.
INSULIN EXPIRATION DATES
It might sound silly to say it, but before packing all of your diabetes supplies for your travel, have you checked your insulin expiration date? It’s generally written on the insulin box. If you plan to be traveling with insulin, make sure all the insulin you’re packing will be good for the whole length of your trip!
HOW TO KEEP INSULIN COOL WHILE TRAVELING?
Read our article about traveling with insulin and get all the tips and tricks to keep your insulin cool while on the road. Whether you’re going for a short travel or a long travel, you’ll find useful information about insulin travel coolers, flying with insulin, fridge surfing and much more!