Tips for Caring for Diabetes Supplies

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Taking care of your diabetes supplies, is an important step in your diabetes-treatment plan. Supplies are fragile and should be treated with care. After all, they help keep you alive – their failure could result in a major detriment to your health.

Be kind to your glucose meter. Since the meter plays a vital role in your diabetes management, be sure to take good care of it. Never expose it to extreme temperatures, whether freezing cold or intense heat. When you store one of your meters in your car, remove it from the car when extreme conditions are forecast.

Get organized. Whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, storing neatly your medication will help you to find easily your supplies and make your diabetes management more predictable. If you can, designate a drawer in your kitchen (or another safe spot in your home) for storing syringes, alcohol swabs, lancets and other supplies. Drawer organizers sold at office- or craft-supply stores can be used to separate conveniently these items, making them easily accessible.

Keep your insulin cool—but not frozen. Exposing your insulin to extreme heat will most certainly ruin it, so keep insulin pens and vials refrigerated. It is perfectly fine to carry unrefrigerated supplies with you during the day as long as you’re careful to keep them out of direct sunlight and in a cool environment. On the other hand, never store insulin next to a frozen ice pack—freezing insulin destroys its potency.

Protect your pump. Pump housing provides some insulation from the heat. If you are concerned about heat, you could use a protective pouch with a small, cold (but not freezing) gel pack placed inside the pouch as a way to protect your insulin from the effects of heat, advises Catherine Carver, M.S., A.N.P., C.D.E, vice president for services development at Joslin Diabetes Center. When you spend an extended amount of time in the sun, cover the pump with a towel, to protect it from prolonged, direct sunlight and limit the exposure to direct light. Disconnecting your pump for up to one hour, is another option. However, if the pump is disconnected for a longer time, you would need to adjust accordingly your insulin-infusion rate, to allow for the missed doses.  Check with your diabetes educator or health-care provider for appropriate replacement amounts.

Keep testing strips safe. Testing strips are a costly but helpful supply for managing diabetes. Protect accordingly your investment —never leave your strips exposed to extreme temperatures, and close always the cap on a canister of testing strips. Keeping the lid closed at all times, will protect the integrity of the strips and keep out moisture and debris.

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