Though summer is starting to wind down, it’s still important to be thoughtful about planning travel with your diabetes medication. Extreme hot or cold weather can make your diabetes gear malfunction. Remembering everything you need to take for a trip or day travel is stressful enough without having to worry about your diabetes medication and gear messing up. Your diabetes gear may stop working correctly if you are traveling in extreme climates. And while traveling, the last thing you want to do is have to replace your diabetes gear. Check out the tips below for the best approaches to protect your diabetes gear from exposure to the elements.
Insulin and Oral Medications
Insulin stored in a refrigerator is good until the expiration date on the bottle. When insulin is taken out of the fridge and kept between 59°F and 86°F, it can potentially last up to 28 days. If the insulin is too hot or frozen, it will not be effective and should be thrown out. If you are outside and need to store your insulin away from your body, keep it in an insulated thermos, cooler, or specific storage pack (Frio insulin-cooling case) to make sure that it stays in a appropriate temperature range. The Frio insulin-cooling case uses an evaporation cooling technique; you soak it in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes and the cooling lasts for up to two days. In coolers that use ice, make sure you create a barrier between the ice and insulin, so the insulin doesn’t freeze. If you have an insulin pump, keep it close to your body in cold weather since the tubing could freeze outside of clothing.
Glucose Meter and Test
Most often forgotten is that glucometers and test strips also come with manufacturer recommendations for temperature storage. For example, OneTouch Verio recommends storing strips between 41 and 86°F. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your glucometer and test strip manufacturer recommendations. Glucometers out of their temperature ranges won’t work and will display error codes. When out in the cold, keep your glucometer and glucose strips closer to your body rather than in your outside pockets. Always remember to keep your test strip container lid closed!
You wouldn’t leave your dog in the car in warm weather or outside in the cold without protection. Use this same principle with your diabetes equipment and enjoy your travels.