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How to carry insulin while travelling?

Q: I am a type-I insulin dependent patient. How can I carry my insulin while travelling? Is there any cold case available to carry insulin and keep it for longer periods?

A:In summers, higher temperatures (more than 30 degree centigrade) can affect your insulin. As a result, your insulin may not work as well as it should. Temperature can also affect product sterility. Do not use insulins that have changed in appearance (e.g., clear insulin becoming cloudy) after they have been in the heat or have been frozen. It is advisable to check how your insulin looks before you use it. If you find anything unusual or you notice your insulin requirements changing markedly, consult your doctor. There are certain packets available through insulin manufacturing companies such as Lilly, Aventis and Novo, which can help you get cool bags. You can also use other commercial cool bags to carry insulin. Storage of insulin depends upon many factors: Is it opened and in use, or unopened and refrigerated.

  • Opened vials and cartridges are the ones in which the stopper or seal has been punctured with a needle. Opened cartridges should be stored in the pen at a temperature between 15 and 30 deg C and may be stored outside the pen in the refrigerator. In-use pens are the ones in which the stopper or seal has been punctured with a needle and should be stored at room temperature. In-use pens should not be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Unopened and refrigerated (2° to 7°C) - until expiration date If outside / room temperature (15°C to 30°C) 10-28 days depending on the type of insulin
  • Do not use any insulin product after the expiration date stamped on the label
  • Do not use any insulin that has been frozen. Freezing may alter the chemistry of the product. It can also change how the product looks and acts when it's shaken. Specifically, if you freeze your insulin suspension, it may not resuspend properly. This can cause you to withdraw an inaccurate dose. Freezing can also cause small cracks in a frozen glass vial. Germs could seep through the cracks. Freezing can also cause a pen cartridge plunger to be displaced.
  • Do not expose any insulin to direct heat or light.
  • If you are travelling by air, never put your insulin into the suitcase. Temperatures in the hold of an aircraft are very low and will cause the insulin to freeze and alter the chemistry.

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