Here I am, new to this group, but with a question.
I'm new to insulin, and I'm traveling. I put an unopened pen cartridge of insulin in the hotel refrigerator last night. Some other items in the fridge are frozen this morning. I've read that it loses its potency if it freezes.
Is there any way to tell whether my insulin also froze?
Thanks for reading this!
Thank you for the information. The unopened insulin cartridge doesn't have any air in it (that I can see) and I didn't know any other way to tell whether it was still liquid. It's my first cartridge. Do you know whether a cartridge will become cloudy or have particulates if it has been frozen?
This reply is too little, too late, but I'll just add my own experience for others who may happen to read this. The same thing happened to me -- the hotel fridge decided to go haywire and freeze everything inside, including my insulin. I know it froze because the cartridge got all cloudy from condensation when I took it out of the fridge (which only happens with an extreme temp difference -- it wasn't hot in the room). If other items froze, I would definitely assume the insulin froze, too.
I complained to the hotel, and they said that the mini fridges are set to adjust to the ambient room temperature. In other words, the internal temperature setting (1-7) is not absolute, but relative. If the temperature in the room changes drastically, as it did when I left the window open overnight, the fridge can turn itself into a freezer without warning. Great. DON'T LEAVE YOUR INSULIN IN A HOTEL MINI-FRIDGE. Either ask at the front desk if they can hold onto it for you in a kitchen fridge (ideal) or rig and constantly replenish an ice bath (less so).
The good news is that my hotel paid for a doctor visit and also paid to replace the insulin that froze (retail price). After all, I had chosen that hotel partly because of the in-room refrigerators, and there was no warning about temperature instability on the fridge. However, going forward, I will never again trust hotel fridges with my precious insulin!
The simplest way to tell if insulin has frozen, if it hasn't changed in appearance, is to use it. If it doesn't bring your blood sugar down as it normally would, then it has indeed been frozen. The same applies to extreme heat. It renders insulin useless.
One word about ice. NEVER use ice directly next to your insulin. It WILL freeze enough to make it useless.
Insulin needs to be kept cool when storing it for future use, or the temperature is high, such as in a tropical climate or during a heat wave.
Once you open it, insulin is fine at average room temperatures, however, if its hot enough to use an air conditioner, then you probably need to take precautions about the heat. All insulin packaging comes with an insert that tells you the safe temperature range for your product. Always check the recommendations in the insert.
If you'll be traveling again, or live where there are heat waves during the summer, I strongly advise you to get a FRIO wallet for your insulin. Frio uses water evaporation to keep insulin and other temperature sensitive medications at a cool temperature without risk of freezing, and without relying on any type of refrigeration. The wallets are small enough to carry with you, and you can also get larger ones for supplies needed over an extended period such as a vacation.
Frio can be used anywhere that you have access to clean water, its very portable, and simple to use, and you can even get one for a pump if you have one.
I've been using water evaporation to keep my insulin protected during heat waves for several years now, and have never had a problem. Frio is a reliable product and the concept is simple and effective. I highly recommend it!
Here's the link: http://www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com/