Insulin Storage

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by LynnAllen02, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    Hi all,

    We are going island camping on Labor Day, cold storage is obviously an issue.

    Our pet Buddie is a diabetic dog, he is going through the transition from Vetsulin (for cats and dogs) to Humulin N (human beings).

    I am heavily researching cooling techniques to keep his insulin safe, pretty sure our cooler will be down to cool water on the 3rd and 4th days!

    Found these articles, am amazed and now hopeful:

    http://healthy-ojas.com/diabetes/insulin-handling.html

    http://www.pswi.org/professional/pharmaco/insulin%20page.pdf

    http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-storage-and-syringe.html

    Anyone have any experience with using human insulin at room temps for even the four days?

    Thanks to whomever responds, DH is considering canceling and going in the PUP so we can use the frig!

    Lynn
     
  2. Stiiinatent

    Stiiinatent seasond camper now with 2 cubs

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    If you can afford it you should consider one of these:
    http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/subcategory.asp?Categoryid=8570
    The small one would have the least amount of power draw out of all of them and should be large enough to carry a months supply. I'm assuming you would have some kind of vehicle. Just watch the draw on the battery you may have to start your car every once and again. There are plenty of electrical gurus on the site they could calculate your amp draw for you. They may be able to suggest some kind of solar set-up that would handle such a small cooler.
     
  3. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    Our vehicle will be back at campground parking. Our island, we figure about 2 1/2 miles from shore, we think/hope it will be about 1/2 hour ride.

    I have looked at those before...they would do the trick for backwoods tent camping!
     
  4. Fonedude

    Fonedude New Member

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    I am a human diabetic and have to carry insulin. While I do use the Coleman electric coolers I have been assured by my pharmacist that insulin can be used for up to 30 days after it comes out of cold storage. While I would not want to risk that it is nice to know. As long as it is kept cool and not allowed to freeze storage in a cooler is fine. I take my insulin bottle and place a wash cloth around it and put that in a plastic sandwich bag and put it in the cooler.
    Best of luck,
    Happy camping!!
     
  5. Stiiinatent

    Stiiinatent seasond camper now with 2 cubs

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    Are you "boon docking" meaning no electric? If so there are options/ways to keep coolers cold for lengthy times. If you are hiking into camp then smaller is better for your cooler. You are going to want a small dedicated cooler if possible. The "lunch box" hard side cooler comes to mind (they usually hold a six pack). A good quality freezer pack and a block of dry ice. You should also wrap the cooler in some kind of blanket or you can get a hot/cold food bag with a zipper type closure. Keep the cooler in the shade. If the site allows dig a hole in the ground about 2' should do and put the coole in the hole. Just make sure to mark the hole so no-one steps in it. If you only open the cooler once a day and quickly this set-up will last 8-10 days possible longer.
     
  6. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    The DW is diabetic and carries 2 types with her at all times, both have their own pens and sit inside a case inside her purse. She gets a couple days out of each vile, so shouldn't be a problem I know her purse isn't chilled like a cooler would be.. you should be fine.. I would do like Fonedude mentioned and wrap it in a facecloth and put it inside a ziploc before placing it in the cooler. If you are using either a block of ice or a frozen jug of water in your cooler they will stay colder longer(as well as be frozen longer too).
     
  7. Retired Alex

    Retired Alex New Member

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    As Snow said, here in Canada we use "pens" for injecting insulin. I keep my unopened refill cartridges in a cool spot (fridge at home and in the trailer) but the pen with the refill I am currently using I don't worry about. When we go out I carry it in my dress jacket pocket or Mary's purse and at home in the medicine cabinet. A cartridge lasts me ~5 days on one kind I take and ~4 days on the other kind. In 23 years I have never had a problem with the insulin going "bad".
     
  8. BillnSusan

    BillnSusan Member

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    Hi, I've been Type I diabetic for 28 years now. I can vouch for what some of the others have said. Human insulin does not go bad at room temperature. I wouldn't leave it at room temperature for more than a few weeks or let it actually get warm, but anytime it's hot out, keep it well insulated and it should be fine. I have a zippered container about the size of a 16 ounce drink that has very thick foam insulation inside, zippered fabric exterior. I have had it for years, so don't remember where it came from, but it will keep insulin safe from breakage or heat. You can probably find something like it online. Good luck. Be sure and keep your doggy well hydrated. Us diabetics get very thirsty if our blood sugar goes up above normal.
     
  9. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    My wife is an insulin dependent diabetic and uses an insulin pump. It's a pager sized device that delivers very tiny amounts of insulin to her every 5 minutes via a small tube connected to a replaceable, flexable needle that goes just under the skin. I fill the pump every 4 days or so. During those 4 days, the insulin stays in the pump, but she tucks the pump into her bra or inside the waistband of her pants, so it's kept somewhere between room and body temp. A stable room temp will present no problems.

    You do want to prevent freezing or extreme heat (sitting in a parked car on a summer day). Her insurance company mails insulin to us in the original packaging, in a zip-lock style bag, inside of a styrofoam box with a few of those blue-ice frozen blocks thrown in.
     
  10. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    So it looks like if I keep it in an extreme cooler (Supposed to last 5 days at 90 degrees) I will be okay! Even if the ice melts to mostly water it will still be cooler than room temperature!

    DH is concerned - keep coolers in the car on many trips for Bears, that ice does NOT make 5 days! Gets to hot in a locked car! But this trip it won't be in a car! It will be on the island with us!

    Thanks Everyone!

    Yes, we are boondocking, nothing abnormal for us in PUP, always on battery power and gas for the frig. But this time no PUP, no battery power, no gas frig.

    We reserved our own island, put everything in the canoe or kayak, row out 2 1/2 miles and set up camp for four days. We could row back in for ice, but not too excited about spending an hour on the water and an hour in the car to get ice each day. Hoping to manage without any trips back to land!

    We sort of thought it would be peaceful and relaxing, but we are starting to lose our nerve now, the PUP looking pretty good.

    Lynn
     
  11. EV2

    EV2 Member

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    When traveling by motorcycle, I purchased one of the small, fabric covered "lunch box" coolers. There is one that has panels in all of the sides that are designed to be frozen. The entire small cooler is placed into the freezer in advance of use. Then I place my insulin referated bag inside with a couple of the small frozen blue ice bricks. Finally, I made a sleeve out of scrap reflectix and duct tape. The inside stayed cold for several days by quickly opening, using and reclosing.
     
  12. Shado

    Shado New Member

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    The Coleman Extreme will last 5 to 7 days as long as you are not in and out of it all the time. We use it every weekend more as a freezer. Just avoid opening it. Going in and out all day and the ice (blocks) will only last 2 and a half days.

    It's the only cooler I use. Try maybe the 36q and keep stuff in it you will only rarely need.

    There is also the Ultimate Extreme which is designed for 6 days.

    Another option is one of the small thermos styles and keep adding small amounts of ice to it throughout the trip
     
  13. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    Went to the Vet this afternoon, Buddie the diabetic is now fully transitioned and stable on Humilin N, and vet agrees that insulin can be room temp for up to 30 days, feels the cooler still good idea cause it is Summer and that's not always room temp!

    Thanks all for the wonderful ideas and advice!

    And Buddie won't keep us from Island Camping!
     
  14. SmilinBeard

    SmilinBeard Member

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    The paperwork with my insulin says it can stay at room temp for 42 days. It also says to keep it cooler than 85 degrees. My test strips warn about getting too hot or too cold.

    What I do when hiking in frigid weather [-5 F] is keep my strips close to my body for warmth.

    I don't backpack at hot times of the year so I don't have a problem with that, but when popping up I keep my strips and insulin in a small cooler [coleman little Oscar] or a soft side lunch bag, with blue ice packets that are cooled in the ice chest or refrig. I don't have problems then with too much water from the cooler and it is portable for day trips.

    I have a small insulated box, designed for juice boxes, that I keep my diabetic supplies in when hiking to keep them at a reasonable temperature.
     
  15. Chris B

    Chris B New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm new to the site and have been reading and learning so much after we purchased our PUP last week. I'm also a pharmacist and thought I would add what I know about Insulin NPH or Novolin N/Humulin N. Insulin can be stored at room temperature for up to 28 days (59-86 degrees F) if it is in a vial. If loaded into an insulin pen with a cartridge then it is good for 2 weeks at room temperature. Excursions above this 86 degrees could potentially lead to bacterial growth in the vial. If it is kept refrigerated and unopened then it is good until the expiry date listed on the packaging. As soon as you open a vial (even if kept refigerated) then it is good for 28 days.
    Since NPH insulin is a cloudy suspension it should be gently rolled between the hands about 10 times to ensure that you get the correct dose. The proteins in NPH insulin tend to settle. If you see a lumpy or granular appearance of it has formed a deposit of solid particles on the wall of the vial or if it has separated into 2 layers then it should not be used. It should also not be frozen. Freezing will denature the proteins and then it won't be effective.
    I hope this helps - although I know several other people have given similar information.
    Chris
     
  16. NJGuy

    NJGuy Active Member

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    Chris B
    That has to be one of the most excellent first posts to this site of all time. BZ!
     
  17. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    Chris B,

    Thanks for your contribution, and Welcome to the portal. My vet agrees with you but had to look it up in a book, we were all used to Vetsulin for the Dogs and Cats, this humulin is a new deal, however, before vetsulin, it was the old deal. But not in my time!

    Now do an intro of yourself and tell us what kind of Pup you bought.

    Don't hesitate to ask questions, people love to answer them!

    And we love pictures!

    Lynn
     
  18. Charlene

    Charlene New Member

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    I know the thread is old, but if cooler is a problem, you can keep insulin cool in a big lake....Canadian lakes are like coolers, put the insulin in a plastic bubble wrap, in a bottle, tie it to a tree....and that will work. not food either, and yes, bears are troublesome.
     
  19. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

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    Charlene

    Thanks for your post, phew it was an old post!

    Our Buddie (my logo in photo by name) passed away in June 2011, he was only 9 years old, and had added Cushings and Degenerative Disk disease to the roster of complaints. He was a valued friend and great camping Buddie to us most of our PUP years!

    We did find the Human insulin didn't need the frig temps the Vetsulin needed!

    We now have Trippe a 7 month old Australian Shepherd who has not camped yet! This year will be his first and we are hoping for another great camping companion! He loves to hike, seemed to like the Kayak and water last summer when he was only 2 1/2 months old, but man did he love Air Conditioning in the heat, and boy does he love the snow this winter! AC will be a problem when camping but we tend to go to the Adirondacks where it quite a bit cooler at night...

    Lynn
     

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