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5 Best Practices To Safely Store Insulin

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
October 3, 2023
December 8, 2023

Following your doctor's prescription for insulin is crucial, but it's equally important to store it correctly. Whether you're a person with diabetes or a caregiver, understanding the proper methods for insulin storage is essential for maintaining its potency and reliability. In this article, we will delve into the best practices for insulin storage.

1. Always Check the Expiration Date

Before storing insulin, always check the expiration date on the packaging. Using expired insulin is like having a car with no fuel - it won't effectively manage your blood sugar levels and might lead to sugar spikes. You might experience symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent bathroom trips, feeling tired, or blurry vision. These are all common signs of high blood sugar.

2. Store It Cool Before It’s Opened

Insulin is sensitive to temperature. If it gets too hot or too cold, it can lose its effectiveness. The ideal temperature range for insulin storage is between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Avoid putting insulin in the fridge door because the temperature can fluctuate when stored there. Furthermore, never freeze insulin. If insulin is frozen, it becomes unusable. To prevent freezing in your home fridge, keep insulin away from the coldest spots at the back. It's also a good idea to use a thermometer in your fridge to keep an eye on the temperature and ensure your insulin remains effective.

3. Keep It Close to Room Temperature Once Opened

While it's recommended by manufacturers to store insulin in the refrigerator, injecting cold insulin can sometimes result in a more uncomfortable experience. To alleviate this, many healthcare providers recommend keeping the insulin bottle you're actively using at room temperature. At room temperature, insulin remains viable for approximately one month. Just ensure it's shielded from direct sunlight and kept away from heat sources like radiators or stoves for optimal storage.

4. Use Insulated Cases When Traveling

When you're on the go, it's essential to safeguard your insulin from extreme temperatures. One way to do this is by using an insulated case. These cases are designed to help keep your insulin within the recommended temperature range. Some cases even come with built-in cool packs for added temperature control.

5. Avoid Exposure to Light

Insulin is sensitive to light. It's best to keep insulin in its original packaging, which is designed to block out light. Avoid using clear containers or leaving it in direct sunlight to maintain its effectiveness.

Takeaways

Remember to keep these simple tips in mind and  always follow best practices when storing insulin. The quality of your insulin is directly related to your ability to manage your diabetes successfully, so handle it with care. And as always, consult your Care Team or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about insulin storage. To read more about the basics of insulin, explore our other article here.

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