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How Do You Know Your Insulin Is At The Right Temperature?

Smith Mark
How Do You Know Your Insulin Is At The Right Temperature?

In the summer, the checklist of worrisome items and where to pack them only grows longer than ever. For many of us, this doesn’t just include sunscreen and shades, but also an insulin pen. Given the fact that insulin is highly temperature-sensitive, how do you ensure the right insulin storage temperature while out and about?

How Do You Know Your Insulin is at the Right Temperature?

Recognizing whether insulin was kept at the right storage temperature is unfortunately not that easy. Improperly stored insulin will go bad – that is, it won’t do its regular job of absorbing glucose into the bloodstream anymore. On the other hand, it will not change in terms of color, smell, or any other obvious characteristic.

This can make determining the optimal insulin storage temperature very tricky indeed. Your best bet is to simply make sure that your insulin temperature is kept below a certain threshold so that you can avoid unfortunate mishaps.

What is the Best Insulin Temperature Range?

When insulin is manufactured commercially, it is generally processed within refrigerated conditions. Accordingly, the insulin storage temperature as quoted by the companies that make it usually falls somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 7 degrees Celsius).

If you really want your insulin to last, you should maintain a number somewhere within this insulin temperature range. The age-old habit of putting fresh insulin right into the fridge as soon as you pick it up from the pharmacy is not too bad – you just need to make sure that your refrigerator actually keeps the right insulin temperature.

Note that a full fridge is always slightly colder than an empty one, and that different compartments also have different temperature levels by design. Often, a small butter compartment can be just what you need in order to attain the correct insulin storage temperature.

However, make sure to cross-reference these basic guidelines with the information provided by your insulin maker. For example, some insulin pens are explicitly meant not to be stored inside a fridge, and instead can last for up to a month or more at room temperature. 

Of course, if you live in a hotter climate, then “room temperature” might actually be a bit too much, and refrigerating your insulin pen anyway would probably not hurt in that case.

Tips for Keeping Insulin Pens in the Correct Temperature Range

Thankfully, there is no real need in the majority of cases to adhere to a strict temperature regimen with most insulin pens if they’re already outside of the packaging. Cooling these can’t hurt, but it also won’t really make your insulin pens last longer or make them more effective in any way either.

Instead, the best thing to do is to make sure that the bags, pockets, rooms, car interiors, and everywhere else you might take your insulin pen with you never exceed about 85° F (29° C).

If you live in Pennsylvania, that might be about as easy said as done. If you live in Tallahassee, not so much.

Depending on the weather, it might therefore be a smart call to invest in a dedicated insulin cooler. These storage solutions are easy to use, compact, and they keep insulin at the right storage temperature for you automatically, no matter where you go. They’re by far the most convenient means of ensuring that your insulin maintains its working temperature year-round.

Smith Mark
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