On the Go with Insulin

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Wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes.

Don't get separated from your supplies. Carry your insulin, syringes and/or insulin pump and infusion sets, lancets, glucose meter, blood and ketone test strips, glucagon kit, glucose gel or tablets, and snacks with you. Check with the airlines to meet security requirements.

Some states require a prescription only for lispro, glargine, and aspart. Other insulins are available over the counter, as are syringes. In other states, you need a prescription for all insulins and the syringes. If you are traveling and your insulin is lost or destroyed, ask a pharmacist for help. Take twice as much insulin and blood testing equipment as you think you'll need. Getting extra diabetes supplies when you're away from home can be difficult.

Keep insulin out of direct sunlight and protect it from very hot or very cold temperatures. If flying, keep your insulin supply with you instead of packing it in bags that might get too hot or too cold (such as in an airplane baggage compartment).

Storing insulin at temperatures colder than 36°F can cause it to lose potency and clump. Also avoid getting insulin too hot or leaving it in direct sunlight for too long. Insulin can spoil if it gets hotter than 86°F. The general rule of thumb is, if the temperature is comfortable for you, your insulin will be okay, too.

Never use insulin if it looks abnormal. Regular, lispro, aspart, and glargine insulins are clear. If you use clear insulin, always check for any floating particles, cloudiness, or change in color. This could be a sign that your insulin is contaminated or has lost its strength.

Other types of insulin come as suspensions. This means that the material is not completely dissolved, and you might be able to see solid material floating in liquid. However, it should look uniformly cloudy. If you are using NPH or lente, check that your insulin is free of any large clumps of material. Do not use any insulin if you see chunks of material floating around. These changes could mean that crystals or aggregates are forming and the insulin is spoiled or denatured. This can be caused by too much shaking of the insulin bottle or storing insulin at temperatures that are either too hot or too cold.

If you have been instructed to dilute your insulin, use only the diluent recommended by the manufacturer. Properly diluted insulin is good for 2 to 6 weeks stored in the refrigerator.

If you find anything wrong with your insulin right after you buy it, return it immediately. If the condition develops later, try to figure out whether you have handled or stored the insulin the wrong way. If not, talk to your pharmacist about a refund or exchange.

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Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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