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If you’re suffering from the heat, so is your equipment!

Temperature can alter the results of blood glucose measures in a variety of ways—watch out for that!

Loss of reliability

Strips, insulin and insulin pumps are sensitive to heat. That’s why it’s important to read storage temperature and usage condition instructions carefully. If necessary, ask your pharmacist for more information.

If, for example, strips or the glucose meter are not in proper working order and your results are inaccurate, you won’t be able to calculate the amount of insulin you really need. Whether you’re insulin-dependent or not, you may not realize you’re slipping into hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia before it’s too late.

Insulin stays in the fridge!

Insulin can be kept at room temperature—meaning, under 30°C—for a few days or even close to a month. In any case, unless otherwise stated on the package, you should never use a product that’s been open for more than 28 days. It’s better to keep it in a cool place before use so it doesn’t lose its effectiveness. Note that it must not be frozen either. When keeping a supply of insulin in the refrigerator, make sure the temperature remains between 2 and 8°C.

If you inject a dose of insulin that meets your needs but your blood glucose remains high, it could be because the medication isn’t working as it should. In that case, don’t take any chances: change the vial or cartridge.

Also, inspect your product before each use. If it appears to have changed color or texture, replace it.

What about insulin pumps?

Don’t expose your pump to direct sunlight or heat; it might become obstructed, among other risks. Plus, the insulin in it might be denatured. Consider replacing it more often.

A few tips

  • Keep your blood glucose meter and all your equipment in a dark, cool and dry place. Don’t leave them in your car or in direct sunlight when going to the beach or the pool, for example.
  • If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, keep your equipment and medication in a cooler. Careful, though: insulin should never be in direct contact with ice or an ice pack.
  • Another great solution: insulated pouches. Various carrying bags, containers and other accessories are also available to keep your equipment at the right temperature.
  • If you’re travelling by plane, keep all your necessities in your carry-on luggage. They would get too cold in the hold.

It’s especially important to keep your equipment with you in hot weather, since the heat causes blood glucose levels to fluctuate. Remember to measure your blood glucose more often!

References:

Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (n.d). Conditions climatiques et produits de santé. Retrieved from: https://archiveansm.integra.fr/Dossiers/Conditions-climatiques-extremes-et-produits-de-sante/Canicule-et-produits-de-sante/(offset)/0. Accessed July 9 2021.

Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (n.d). Systèmes de surveillance de l’équilibre glycémique. Retrieved from: https://archiveansm.integra.fr/Dossiers/Diabete/Systemes-de-surveillance-de-l-equilibre-glycemique/(offset)/2. Accessed July 9 2021.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d). Managing Diabetes in the Heat. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/manage-diabetes-heat.html. Accessed July 9 2021.

Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy. Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/blood-glucose-meters/blood-glucose-meter-accuracy.html. Accessed July 9 2021.

Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Diabetes and Hot Weather – Staying Safe in the Heat. Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-hot-weather.html. Accessed July 9 2021.

Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Keeping Insulin Cool. Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/travel/keeping-insulin-cool.html. Accessed July 9 2021.

Diabetes Québec (2019). All about injections. Retrieved from: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/care-and-treatment/drugs-and-insulin/all-about-injections. Accessed July 9 2021.

Mayo Clinic (2020). Beware summer extremes with insulin. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-blog/diabetes-blog/bgp-20056534. Accessed July 9 2021.

WebMD (2021). Guidelines for Buying and Using Diabetes Supplies. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guidelines-for-buying-and-using-diabetes-supplies#1. Accessed July 9 2021.

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