For many people, summertime means time at the pool, days at the beach, backyard barbecues, and outside fun with family and friends! During the hot summer months, you want to make sure you protect your diabetes supplies and equipment. Heat can have negative impacts on your oral medication, insulin, blood glucose meter, and test strips. Let’s take a look at some tips to keep your diabetes supplies safe during the hot summer months!
Insulin can become damaged and ineffective in extreme heat. Be sure to keep insulin pens and insulin vials refrigerated. . If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, it is perfectly fine to carry these supplies with you during the day unrefrigerated, just as long as you’re careful to keep them out of direct sunlight, and in a cool environment. On the other hand, never store insulin next to a frozen ice pack—freezing will ruin the insulin. Be sure to look at the medication insert for specific information on temperature thresholds for your specific insulin.
Heat can also harm the effectiveness of oral diabetes medications. Most oral medications have a therapeutic temperature range above which they don’t work as well. Look at the medication insert for specific information on heat thresholds for you oral diabetes medications.
Blood Glucose Meter
Your blood glucose meter plays an important role in caring for your diabetes, so you want to be sure to take good care of it. That means you should never expose it to extreme temperatures, whether that may be freezing cold, or intense heat. During the hot summer months, you don’t want to keep your meter in your car since cars can get extremely hot. Always keep it in a cool dry place.
Test strips are another important tool in caring for diabetes, and we know how costly they are too. You need protect your investment and never expose test strips to heat, which can leave the test strips working incorrectly. Never leave your strips exposed to extreme temperatures, and always close the cap on a canister of test strips. Keeping the lid closed at all times will protect the integrity of the strips, and also keep out moisture.
Whitney Roberts, RD, CDE