Insulin and hot weather-would you still use?

Hey! Strange question. I always keep my insulin in my purse and have every season for the past 16 years. Easy for me to remember where it is and then I have it with me easily in case I need to change a pod early for whatever reason. Minnesota is currently in the middle of the heat wave (95+ and humid, it’s disgusting). I haven’t been outside with the actual vial, besides having it with me for car rides(ac on and shaded as best as I can) and running in and out of stores quick on the weekend. When I took it out my purse this morning, I noticed the vial felt a little warm. There was also a little hot air that came out of the vial of test strips. The test strips were easy to confirm that they were still working properly as they were two points off from a different fresh vial. The insulin I’m a little scared to use. It’s a fresh vial so really don’t want to have to throw, but want to know what others thoughts would be. A pharmacist recommended I toss it but said she also has to recommend that in case it does not work. Thoughts?

Hi Taylor. I’ve read what you’re concerned about. It is going to be difficult to say that your insulin is still viable since you noticed it got warm. Keeping insulin cold is imperative in keeping it from degrading. If it was warm to the touch, that could mean that it got warmer than normal room temperature. Looking at it may not show that it is still good or bad. You may want to look at the topic “Traveling with Diabetes-questions” to see the recommendations others use to transport insulin in hot areas to protect it. I hope this helps.

I think i got it figured out. I ate a very low carb dinner and injected the insulin from the vial via syringe. I knew worst case scenario I’d just take a correction bolus at the two hour mark. Actually went low so definitely works! Totally agree about keeping it cool moving forward just usually don’t ice my insulin after taking it out of the fridge and my endo told me when I was a teen that constantly taking the insulin in and out of the fridge for injections versus just having it at room temp for 30 days can also make it less effective. There’s always something with diabetes :joy: thanks for the reply though!

There are travel coolers you can buy to keep your insulin chilled using gel or other coolant and are available for pens s well as bottles. A company called Frio advertises that theirs stay cool for 45 hours.

Bulkier than what you may be using now but worth it to protect your investment.


FWIW, we live in FL, where it’s really hot for much of the year, and we’ve never had an issue carrying insulin as you described, just in my daughter’s bag, mostly in the a/c but of course not 100% of the time.

We use a frio sleeve for long bike rides in the heat, and for beach trips, it just goes in the cooler, but for daily life in a hot climate, our insulin lives at room temperature and gets carried between air-conditioned spaces without any apparent degradation. She rode her bike to and from school pre-pandemic, which meant being outside for 30-40 minutes twice a day with her insulin just in her bag inside her backpack, and that was fine.

It sounds like you confirmed that your vial is still okay, which is awesome. So just consider this as encouragement that you did the right thing. :slightly_smiling_face:

Great thanks! I’m glad to hear that. Definitely seems to be working good as I woke up at 80 and I’m currently 128 so glad I didn’t toss it :blush:

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Taylor @Tee25 , I too live in Florida where temperatures hover around 90 for a vast part of the year and have not had any problem with insulin “over heating” to the point of failure. The insulin in my pump is exposed every day for at least 7 hours most days. Although I put the minimum number of units in a pump cartridge permitted, that small amount of insulin lasts through two infusion cannula changes; I really don’t like throwing away insulin left in a pump cartridge when it is time [three days] to change the infusion set.

I got home from the pharmacy one day and found my bottle of Regular insulin (this was back in the 80s) had turned from clear to cloudy. I took it back to the pharmacist, who asked if I had left it on my car. This was in DC in summer, when temps outdoors can hit the 80s or 90s and inside a closed car can be unbearable. Insulin - like children and pets - should not be left in a closed car under those conditions.
I had gone straight home, blowing the AC the whole way, so whatever happened, happened elsewhere - thankfully the pharmacy have me a replacement. All of that is to say, appearance is one sign of IGB (insulin gone bad). It may not be the only one but if yours looks funny don’t use it - contact your pharmacy. They don’t usually take back opened meds but if you return immediately they might replace it or give you guidance on how to do so. I don’t know for sure but it’s worth a shot rather than throwing out your liquid gold.

I’ve used the Frio on trips to hot locations (once in Egypt where the tour guide told us the high was going to be 130 that day, and I think he was right), and it seems to work well. It’s a bit bulky, but not as much as I had expected. I had also thought, before I tried it, that it would drip down onto my pants, but it doesn’t when properly prepared: it feels just a tad damp when you put your hand on it, but it’s not soaking; the water is wicked (that’s from “wick,” not “wicked”! :slight_smile: up into the interior quite well.