Storing insulin

By KitKatt93 Latest Reply 2012-12-30 13:08:26 -0600
Started 2010-04-28 23:37:00 -0500

"keep refrigerated." is printed on her insulin boxes. When I take Kylie to her docter, to the park or anywhere I don't know what to do with her insulin. LOL I tried putting a small teething ring in her test kit case but it still got warm. Is the insulin bad after that? How does everyone store their insulin when they aren't home, near a fridge or cooler? I live in Nevada and it gets hot!!!!


47 replies

pdmmara12 2012-12-30 13:08:26 -0600 Report

I used to keep my insulin refrigerated, but after my surgery, I was in a rehab and I saw the nurses there passing meds and the insulin bottles were in their drawers, not refrigerated. Due to the fact that I now have to test my bs and inject insulin 4 x a day, I keep everything in my purse. I keep my unopened insulin in the refirgerator. I was told the insulin unrefrigerated is okay until after 30 days. Thanks for this discussion!

IronOre 2012-12-29 23:46:21 -0600 Report

Yes the pamplets that come with the insulin says "keep cold" but they also say it can be kept at "room temp" for 28 days after opening, so a keep it out of the refrigerator for the period of time that you are at the doctor should be no problem at all.
I have been T1 for almost 38 years and have never gone to trouble of keeping my insulin cold all the time like many people below do. I have never had any problems.
Here is a link that I found supporting that:
I do live in Wisconsin so the heat does not get as hot as Nevada, but it does get up there in temp once in a while.
I really don't know how to tell if insulin has gone bad if it got too warm. My biggest concern would be to accidently keep it in a car that would get hot in the sun.
I do keep my insulin in a refrigerator when at home, but when away it is either in my shirt or pants pocket.

frogqtie2 2012-05-02 08:02:29 -0500 Report

I always read my medicine information that comes with it. I am on a sliding scale and never know how much I am going to need. I bought a lunch cold pack at walmart. Its about 4x3, I put it in a baggie, and then I put my insulin another baggie and slip it down in an insulated cup I keep in the car. It stays cold for a good 4 hours. I use Novilin R, without refrigeration its good for 30 days, with refigeration its good for 45.

margokittycat 2012-05-01 18:22:43 -0500 Report

KitKatt, I bought a little refrigerator for my car, it plugs in to the lighter outlet or the ac outlet in cars and runs all the time if it is in the ac outlet. It keeps my insulin cold and I carry a few bottles of OJ in it to just in case.

Katie17 2010-07-11 10:29:28 -0500 Report

Whenever I go somewhere for over a few hours, I always take my cooler pack. I don't have diabetes, but hypoglycemia so I always have food, juce, crackers and lunchmeat-yogert type stuff (that needs to be cold). Its a cooler but looks like a lunchbox with a long strap. prob wouldn't be your best bet for carrying insulin, but it works for keeping stuff cold

KarenH 2010-05-15 22:39:28 -0500 Report

My insulin pens (Humalog & Lantus) are kept in the refrigerator but once opened then I keep them either in my house or purse. I do keep them cold with freezer packs/lunch sack when traveling if they haven't been used yet. I've never had any problems…

Pam S
Pam S 2010-12-24 07:09:02 -0600 Report

i do the same with insulin…If i'm traveling I keep them cold. otherwise I keep them out once opened…

Patty johnson
Patty johnson 2010-05-16 07:17:38 -0500 Report

Yes, that is what one should do ONCE you open them. I was putting them back in fridge each time UNTIL I read the product info more closely.

Roger1966 2010-05-15 20:36:32 -0500 Report

Try Their insulin carrier comes in several color choices, is not real large, and keeps my 2 vials of insulin cool all day. It does hold 2 vials of insulin lots of syringes and alcohol swabs and has a spare ice pack so that 1 is always frozen. just be sure to let the ice sit at room temp for the short time they recommend, as you never want to freeze any insulin. I've used this product for decades and it's cheap durable and keeps my insulin cool all day long without a refrigerator. I hope this information helps you Katt.

KitKatt93 2010-05-15 22:14:39 -0500 Report

Hello Roger. I have looked at different carrying cases for insulin. How neat that they have these designed for diabetics! I will look again at the one you are recommending. Thanks alot!


Danni-the-diabetic 2010-05-15 15:32:48 -0500 Report

Ha! Ha! I actually do use the small teething rings that I jacked from my roommate (her kids don't use them) - that's too funny, I though I was being original trying those out. Unfortunately, they don't stay frozen long enough to keep it cold.
I don't have a cooler, but I found these ice packs in the freezer that are Similac brand used to keep bottles cold and the ice pack stays frozen for hours - at least a good 3 hours left in the hot car.

Good luck with everything! From what I have read from you, you are doing awesome, stepping up to the plate for your little sister and taking care of her. :) Danni

KitKatt93 2010-05-15 22:11:22 -0500 Report

Hello Danni, LOL did you really try teething rings too? That's funny! What do you keep your ice packs and insulin in if you don't have a cooler? Does the ice packs fit in a test kit carrying case?


Danni-the-diabetic 2010-05-16 18:04:14 -0500 Report

Yea I did, I still do every now and than. I put the ice pack in a baggie actually and stick it in my sack. Nothing fancy, just plain and simple. The ice pack are a little too big for the carrying cases, but I haven't tried without the monitor, strips and all that good stuff. You'll find something that'll work for you and your sister. Good luck with everything and take care!

KitKatt93 2010-05-16 21:23:21 -0500 Report

The ice pack keeps this insulin cold for a few hours with being in only a baggie? Like a plastic bag? That is plain and simple. Anymore plain and simples?


Danni-the-diabetic 2010-05-17 11:38:17 -0500 Report

Yep, I give the credit to the ice pack lol, if I use one of those clear, blue gel ice packs they stay warm long. I tried other things but the less I have to carry the better. I like keep everything plain and simple when it comes to carrying stuff around, I just throw it all in my sack and go.

gregsteele 2010-06-06 09:57:24 -0500 Report

KATT i just use one of those six packer coolers (about $5.00) at wal-mart it hase a strap for easy carry put insulin in baggie plus you have room for a couple sodas & a snack or two love to all GREG

KitKatt93 2010-06-06 15:25:40 -0500 Report

Hello Greg. Thats a great idea to. I am just using one of my old lunch packs, it is a smaller one like in the shape of a paper bag and I can still put a drink and snack in there.


teggyr 2010-05-15 14:31:46 -0500 Report

I always take a small insulated bag with me with the blue ice and I keep my insulin in there so it doesn't get warm. I lasts for around 8 hours. It's small and you can take it hiking or to the park or any other daytime (evening) activities.

KitKatt93 2010-05-15 22:12:47 -0500 Report

Hello Teggyr, is yours like a lunch pack? I've been trying that out. 8 hours is a long time to last. Where do you live? In a cooler place?


mamc 2010-05-15 10:03:17 -0500 Report

My mom used a small bowl that's for hot or cold food and she put it, the bowl/ insulated container, in freezer day before and then wet paper towels iarround the bottle and it works fine cause I saw her take it .Ksthy61

Elrond 2010-05-15 00:20:11 -0500 Report

This brings up a question I need to ask my doctor. I recently started using a pump and the insulin in the pump is definitely going to get very warm. I live in Phoenix, Az. and spend a lot of time outdoors. Summertime temps here often reach 110 to 120 in the shade and shade is very difficult to find. I may find it necessary to not fill the reservoirs very much then change them more frequently.

KitKatt93 2010-05-15 05:08:15 -0500 Report

I was wondering about that too. Someone in the pump discussion I wrote says it only takes certain kinds of insulin, maybe those don't have to be refrigerated but I was told if they don't than they can't get over 80 degrees. I live in NV, it get so hot here too. Please let me know what your doctor says when you ask him.


valeriebst 2010-05-14 23:53:54 -0500 Report

Insulin has changed a lot over the years. I too have been told depending on the type it is not a absolute to be refrigerated. I keep my extra bottles in the fridge at all times unless I am travelling. I use a pump and that insulin is with me 24/7. Obviously it's not refrigerated and my numbers are great and everything works well. I do use a small cooler at time though when travelling somewhere HOT. Also, there are quite a few carry cases you can get now that have insulation in them and I have even seen some with a little freezer pack in it, like what your insulin gets shipped with…

nakedbaboon 2010-05-14 13:09:11 -0500 Report

Quick question. What type of Insulin? I take Novolog and Levemir Flex Pens and they say "keep refrigerated." but was told by the Pharmacist that they did not need to be if they were the ones you were currently using. He said they are good for 30 days out of the fridge. Depends on the type of Insulin though from what I understand. I keep all mine in the fridge except current pens.

Also glad you brought this up reminds me I need to get storage for when camping as it gets above 80 degrees here.

KitKatt93 2010-05-14 16:03:19 -0500 Report

I have been keeping hers in the fridge and I am using an extra case that we have for one of her test kits and putting a small ice pack in it and using that to put her medicine in when we go out. A pharmicist told me a couple days ago that it is safest to keep it refrigerated and when we go out try to keep it cool but if I cant than don't have it out for to long.
Does anybody know if the test strips can be ruined from heat?


nakedbaboon 2010-05-18 15:55:45 -0500 Report

It is not good on the test strips. If I understand correctly it does not ruin them thye just have to get to a certain temp before working again. Not that i would want to find out the hard way. Especially with the price.

I actually read today on the Novolog U-100 that you can keep used (open) Vials either in the fridge or out of the fridge at room temp below 86 degrees. Then it says throw away after 28 days. Depending on pen or vial and usage I go through about 25 to 35 Units of Novolog per day and a pen is 300 units. I am done with them well before 28 days.

Keep in mind a lot of this insulin is also used in pumps which are not refrigerated. Such as the Novolog U-100 vials. Same as pen just different dosing method. If it can be kept in a pump for 3-4 days not refrigerated should be fine to do the same with pens.

READ ALL INSULIN LABELS FIRST!! Before just taking ANYONES advise. This includes health care professionals.

monkeymama 2010-04-29 22:57:45 -0500 Report

Hello there! They do have storage cases that you can order to put the insulin in and some back up supplies too. It is fairly inexpensive and comes with a cooling pack when you order one. There are lot of companies that do this so I would suggest putting insulin cases in the search engine and it will come up with quiet a few places to chose from. I have a deluxe pack I use to hold everything in there. Including my meter, testing supplies, fast sugar, and more. It was even helpful when I traveled to my dads in Kingman,AZ. and my flight.

KitKatt93 2010-04-30 14:15:10 -0500 Report

Hello Monkeymama. I did find a couple that looked nifty because of the different compartments for syrings and medicines. Thankyou for your suggestion.

monkeymama 2010-05-15 15:27:39 -0500 Report

I bought what is called a Dia-Pack deluxe (they also have a non-deluxe version). It comes with lots of pockets to put all of your testing, pumping, and medical needs. Along with a cooler pack pouch. You do have to make sure that you do not allow your testing strips to become too hot. Check your bottles to see what the temperature limits are. From what i was told. Any unused insulin & opened bottled needs to be kept in refrig. It is okay out though. I will have to ask my Endo team Tuesday and get back with everyone on this question. :)

Zimoss 2010-04-29 21:21:36 -0500 Report

You are fine to use insulin as long as it doesn't exceed the temp. limits which are usually on each vial. (typically up to 80)

One thing to consider is that it often gets much hotter in a closed car than it is outside… for example in Tucson, AZ it regularly gets to about 110 in the summer…and as a result your car interior can get to temps in excess of 200. (many factor influence this…depends on climate, car color, tinted windows, shade or no shade, how long you're parked, etc.)

spiritwalker 2010-04-29 20:16:02 -0500 Report

I think your idea with the lunch sack a good one. When I
travel I use soft cold packs and a nylon insulated lunch
sack. I place the insulin centered in the packs. It keeps it
cold for several hours.

GabbyPA 2010-04-29 10:17:32 -0500 Report

I know my mom's insulin is mailed to her and it comes in a Styrofoam box with a couple of freezer ice packs in it. We keep some of those so if she needs to keep it cool (we live in Florida, it is hot here too) she can use the box and an ice pack. It will keep it cool for a whole day.

KitKatt93 2010-04-29 13:37:08 -0500 Report

That's great that she gets it mailed, how does she get that? I have to pick up ice packs, we only have 2 big hard ones. Florida is hot. I have never been there but I can only imagine ;)

GabbyPA 2010-04-29 13:51:12 -0500 Report

She gets her meds thru her insurance company and they give her a better deal if she does them thru mail order. You might want to see if your sister's insurance will do that, then you have something that you can use for free. Free is always good in my book.
Yep Florida is hot but it is also humid. Nevada heat is dry so you get hotter in some ways, but we get sticky. LOL We are expecting our first 90's of the season this weekend. Whew! get the hose!

Harlen 2010-04-29 08:04:32 -0500 Report

For me when it gets hot and I need to keep my insulin with me I use a little soft side cooler with a ice pack when it get real hot other then that its all I can add
best wishes

KitKatt93 2010-04-29 13:34:54 -0500 Report

That's what I am going to use is like my old lunch coolers lol but not the ones with old characters.

kdroberts 2010-04-29 07:39:46 -0500 Report

Once you have used it for the first time you can keep it out of the fridge for the number of days approved for the type of insulin, usually 28 or 30. The refrigeration comes in for unused vials/pens and you can keep them until the expiration date, although you need to use them before they expire not just start using them. As long as the insulin being used doesn't get over 80 degrees then it will be OK. Some insulins should not be refrigerated after opening but I think they are the ones not approved for use in somebody as young as your sister.

KitKatt93 2010-04-29 13:32:41 -0500 Report

Hello Kdroberts, thankyou. That makes me feel alot better about her insulin. I don't think it got over 80 degrees. We keep her unopened vials and all other medicines in the bottom drawers in fridge.

kdroberts 2010-04-29 13:38:11 -0500 Report

You may want to check that, there is also a low temperature limit. Sometimes draws and the back of the fridge are too cold to store insulin. The door is a good option.

mlmeyers 2010-05-02 13:14:50 -0500 Report

I keep my vial of Lantus in the compartment in the door that you would ususlly use for sticks of butter and the box of my extra Humalog pens in the door.

MAYS 2010-04-29 00:02:18 -0500 Report

You may find this information useful :

To store your insulin for travel, you can use an insulated thermal bag with refreezable ice packs or a small cooler with ice packs.

There are also specialized cases for diabetic items :

~ Mays ~

KitKatt93 2010-04-29 13:28:30 -0500 Report

Thankyou for the links. All the links you have given me are very much helpful!! And I still have lunch packs from when I was in middle school, those can work for now.


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