5 Tips for Caring for Your Diabetes Supplies
Be kind to your glucose meter. Since your meter plays a vital role in your diabetes management, 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. If you keep a glucose meter in your car, make sure you remove it if very hot or cold weatehr is forecasted.
Keep test strips safe. As anyone with diabetes will tell you, test strips are a very costly but very helpful tool for managing diabetes. You should protect your investment accordingly—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 and debris.
Keep your insulin cool—but not frozen. Exposing your insulin to extreme heat will most certainly ruin it, so be sure to keep insulin pens and vials refrigerated. 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 insulin will also destroy its efficacy.
Protect your pump. Your pump provides some insulation of your insulin from the heat . If you are concerned about heat, you can use a protective pouch with a small, cold (but not freezing) gel pack placed inside the pouch as a way to protect your insulin from the effects of heat, advises Catherine Carver, M.S., A.N.P., C.D.E, and Vice President, Planning & Product Development at Joslin Diabetes Center. If you’ll be spending a long time out in the sun, cover the pump with a towel to protect it from prolonged direct sunlight, and limit the exposure to direct light. Disconnecting your pump for up to an hour is another option, but if it is disconnected for a longer time, you will need to adjust your insulin infusion rate accordingly to allow for the missed doses.
Get organized. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, storing your medication neatly will not only help you find your supplies easier, but they’ll also make your diabetes management a bit more predictable. If you can, designate a drawer in your kitchen (or another safe spot in your home) for neatly storing syringes or pen needles, test strips, alcohol wipes, lancets, and other supplies. Drawer organizers sold at office or craft supply stores can be used to conveniently separate these items, and make them easily accessible.
Page last updated: May 18, 2013