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What Happens If Insulin Gets Warm


What Is The Right Storage Temperature For Unopened Insulin

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The ideal temperature for a vial or pen of insulin is between 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit when its being stored in your refrigerator. Some parts of your fridge might be colder than others, so be sure to check the temperature setting.

You might want to avoid keeping your insulin in the back of the fridge, too, because things can get a little too cold back there. Instead, consider keeping your box of insulin pens or vials in the butter compartment, the door shelving, or one of the produce drawers.

How To Store Insulin

Proper insulin storage is important to ensure that the insulin stays effective.

Avoid exposing insulin products to extreme temperatures. Insulin is a protein and this makes it subject to degradation when temperatures are too hot or too cold. Additionally, keep insulin products away from direct sunlight as this can also cause a breakdown of the insulin.


Proper insulin storage is so important that the FDA recently took action to ensure that Insulin pens must always be dispensed in their original boxes so that instructions for the proper use and storage of insulin are always included. This means that your pharmacy is not allowed to give you just 2 insulin pens from a box of 6 pens.

Insulin that is not being used should be stored in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F , a safe distance away from the back and top of the refrigerator where cooling elements may cause the temperature to approach freezing.

The refrigerators butter compartment or produce drawer is typically a good option for insulin storage.

Update: A new study from 2021 shows that insulin stored at 77° to 98.6°F for four weeks showed the same stability as insulin stored at the currently recommended pharmaceutical protocols of 36° to 46°F until opened.

Any insulin vials or pen that are in use can be stored outside of the refrigerator at temperatures up to 86F or 30C .


The reason for storing in-use insulin at room temperature is that cold insulin can produce a more painful injection.

What To Avoid In Storing Insulin

So what steps should be taken to properly store and handle insulin? First, here are common things to avoid:

Dont put insulin into your checked bags when you fly. The part of the plane where the passengers sit is climate-controlled, so its kept within a normal temperature range. However, the cargo hold where checked bags go is exposed to ambient temperature it is frigid at 30,000 feet and can easily freeze insulin.

Dont leave your insulin in the car for long periods. In the summer months, your insulin will bake in the heat. In extremely cold winter months, it could freeze.

Dont leave your insulin exposed to direct sunlight.


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Insulin Heat And The Heat Index

The first thing to remember with diabetes and heat is that high temperatures can affect the way how your body uses insulin.

You might first have to test how the insulin actually works for your body and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.

Adjusting insulin dose should be backed up with a proper diet, meaning a greater intake of fluid and other food that contains minerals to make sure youre properly hydrated at all times.

In addition to these, its also a good idea to check the heat index when the temperature soars.


The heat index is a measurement that combines heat and humidity. Its always good to take steps to stay cool when the temperature reaches anything like 80°F .

The heat index can even go up to 15°F higher in full sunlight, so make sure you stick to more shaded areas when the weather warms up.

Humidity has a huge influence on temperature, for example, when the temperature is 90°F , a high humidity index could make it feel more like 105°F .

Heat And Low Blood Sugar Levels

What Happens To Insulin If It Gets Warm

Here what happens is the body burns glucose far more quickly than it does on a less hot day. Like a slow and steady walk, during hot days your body burns more glucose trying to keep your body cool.

Especially exercising during a hot day can easily reduce your blood sugar levels. Even if you do everything possible to prevent low blood sugar during exercises, a hot day can easily result in low blood sugar.


Some research has shown that your body works harder to stay warm in cold weather compared to cooling down in hot weather. But despite this, during hot days, there is an increased caloric burn that results in burning more glucose. So, a low blood sugar level becomes highly likely.

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How Can You Tell If Insulin Has Gone Bad

There are two ways in which you can tell if your insulin has gone bad.

The first method is visual inspection. If your insulin looks cloudy or discolored in any way, dont use it. If it has clumps or what look like little strings in it, its probably not safe to use.

The second way to know your insulin is not working properly is unexplained high blood sugars, as mentioned above.


What Problems Can Hot Weather Cause For People With Diabetes

Dehydration can be an issue in hot weather, and higher blood glucose levels can further increase this risk.

People with diabetes may need to increase their intake of fluids in hot weather, drinking water regularly through the day.

One of the major concerns regarding diabetes and hot weather is the risk of blood sugar levels rising or falling and causing hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

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What Can Cause An Insulin Overdose

Insulin overdoses can occur for a number of reasons. Some common reasons are listed below:


  • Miscalculating the carb content of a meal
  • Missing out or delaying a scheduled meal or snack after having injected
  • Accidentally injecting twice for the same meal or snack
  • Accidentally injecting the dosage number of a different meal
  • Accidentally injecting the wrong insulin for example injecting your rapid acting insulin instead of your long acting insulin
  • Having difficulty seeing the numbers or gradation on an insulin pen or syringe

Whats The Best Temperature To Store Insulin

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The three major insulin makers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi tell us that refrigeration temperatures between 36° and 46°F are maintained for insulin products during the manufacturing process and that remains the recommended range. They also warn strongly against putting insulin in the freezer, or directly adjacent to the refrigerator cooling element, as freezing renders insulin immediately ineffective.

According to Consumer Reports, the sweet spot for a kitchen fridge is 37° F apparently ideal for keeping veggies like lettuce free of ice crystals, while suppressing the spread of bacteria. But thats pretty close to the bottom of the ideal insulin temp range, so we need to be careful.

Many people with diabetes have a habit of taking their insulin directly from the pharmacy to the kitchen fridge. While this is generally good enough, its important to be alert to colder corners and know that the overall temperature of a full fridge can be lower than the temperature in a nearly empty one. The butter compartment generally remains a good choice of fridge placement for insulin, as it turns out.

Now lets turn to the specific insulin you may be using.

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Be Careful When Traveling By Plane

Never, never, never put your insulin in a suitcase that is going to be checked and stored in the luggage section of the airplane. It can be really hot or really cold in that part of the plane, and youll arrive at your destination with a batch of useless insulin. Always keep all the insulin youre traveling with in your carry-on.

Storage Of Unopened Insulin:

Insulin is very sensitive to sunlight, indoor lights, and to extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Insulin is not OK to use if exposed to very hot or cold weather. The three drug manufacturers of insulin in the United States say UNOPENED insulin is best stored inside the fridge . UNOPENED insulin stored in the refrigerator is good until the expiration date printed on the insulin box. The expiration date will usually be 1 year from the date of purchase but you have to check the box to find ou

Cartridges for an insulin pump as seen above are also best stored inside the fridge and will last until the expiration date.

Storage of OPENED insulin:

Once open there are different storage needs for insulin. What does OPEN mean? This does NOT mean removed from the box. OPEN means the insulin cap is removed and the rubber stopper was punctured.


Vials and pens have different needs for storage. These differences can lead to confusion. Therefore, it is very important for you to become familiar with the recommendations for the insulin product that you use.

What is an OPEN vial?

Vial: Once the vial is punctured, it is OPEN. Once you stick a needle in the vial, it is OPEN. OPEN vials can be stored in the fridge or at CONTROLLED room temperature. Regardless of where it is stored, OPEN insulin will only last 28 days before it must be thrown away. Insulin kept in the fridge should be removed and allowed to reach room temperature before injection.

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What Happens If Insulin Isnt Refrigerated

Storing insulin appropriately is important to make sure its able to do its job in the body.

Insulin keeps your blood sugar levels from getting too high. So, having enough insulin is important to avoid hyperglycemia . Early hyperglycemia symptoms can include feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, and blurry vision. More serious symptoms can include confusion, weakness, and shortness of breath.


If insulin isnt stored correctly, it can spoil and become less effective. If your insulin isnt effective, you could experience hyperglycemia.

Products To Help Store Insulin Safely

Actrapid Insulin Side Effects

Just as new insulins have rapidly been developed, more efficient methods of keeping insulin safe have evolved as well.

Three such products have now come forward with unique and simple ways to carry insulin products with you, whether it be on short hikes, or traveling the world.

MedAngelis a handy smart thermometer for medications that need to be stored at certain temperature ranges. You keep it next to your insulin and it will alert you on your phone if the temperature is out of range. You can customize the temperature range for your specific medication, which is great.

Frio Cooling Packs can work up to 5 times longer than ice packs and seem to keep insulin products at a more consistent temperature. They can last up to 45 hours or more and are easy to store and use, coming in a variety of styles and colors. They require soaking in water before use as instructed on the website.


TheVivi Cap is a cooling device for insulin pens. It simply clicks onto an insulin pen instead of the cap and with the push of a button, the device then works to keep insulin at the proper temperature for as long as you need it to. No ice packs or preparing necessary. The battery lasts as long as the device, which can be active for several years.

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Heat Insulin And Insulin Equipment Trouble

The ideal temperature for insulin equipment and insulin solution is between 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

When your insulin is exposed to temperatures more than this recommended amount, or even exposed to heat for a long period of time the insulin will breakdown.

This breakdown of insulin can be very severe, where the insulin will become essentially useless for managing your blood sugar levels.


The ideal temperature for insulin equipment and insulin solutionis between 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit

The breakdown can occur in a very short time. For example, an 80-degree temperature in summer and 20 degrees in the winter can easily breakdown the insulin perhaps at a glance.

And in case you werent aware, insulin also begins to breakdown the moment you open a vial or pen.

This is why its generally suggested that you use any opened insulin within 28 days. But during hot weather, the usability of insulin could be reduced to far fewer days depending on the temperature.

If you are wearing an insulin pump, beware of your use of sunscreen. As mentioned above in this article, it is important that you wear sunscreen during hot days. However, some insulin pumps, such as the Omnipod, may crack or become defective if certain sunscreens have contact them. Talk to the manufacturer of your insulin pump about this.

Storage And Transport Of Insulin When In Use

For PwD, the insulin in-use is a daily companion, and therefore, is exposed to numerous environmental factors. The average ambient temperature in many regions can be much higher than the recommended 30°C in summer or can drop below 2°C in winter. Package leaflets, in addition to a temperature range, recommend keeping insulin away from sunlight and do not freeze.

There is little research on how insulin is transported when in-use and its quality at the moment of administration. Observational data from users of the insulin pen cap Insulclock showed that during a study period in Spain in summer, injections were performed at an average temperature of 27°C , with 11.7% above 30°C up to 41°C . There are also a few documented cases of diabetic ketoacidosis of pump users, whose insulin had stopped working because of exposure to heat or freezing.,

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Do Different Forms Of Insulin Have Unique Storage Instructions

Different forms of insulin, and even different brands, may have different storage instructions. Below, well discuss how different forms of insulin are stored. Always read the instructions on your insulin box and ask your pharmacist for specific storage directions.

For reference, refrigerated temperature is 36°F to 46°F and room temperature is 59°F to 77°F or 86°F .

How To Prevent Insulin Overdoses

Giving an uncooperative dog an insulin shot
  • Take care when calculating meal time insulin. Taking an extra couple of minutes to be sure of your dose will save the time and hassle of an overdose.
  • Never be tempted to delay your meal or snack if you have injected.
  • Dont inject whilst doing other tasks, such as watching the TV, holding a conversation or performing another task as this raises the chance that you may forget your injection has been done. Concentrate solely on giving the injection
  • Be careful of injecting insulin when you are hypo as mistakes are more likely to be made. Ideally, ensure your blood glucose has risen to safe levels and then put in your scheduled insulin dose.
  • Ask for help if you have difficulty seeing the numbers or gradations on your insulin pen or syringe. See also our page on diabetes and visual impairment which lists a number of injection aids for people that have visual impairments

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Signs Of Bad Insulin:

When insulin is first taken out of the packaging, it is important to check the contents of the bottle and make sure that the liquid is not discolored in anyway. Insulin should be clear in color, and there should not be any particles suspended in the liquid. Since the bottle is clear, these things are relatively easy to check for. If any of these things appear in the liquid or if the liquid is discolored or cloudy, the insulin should not be used.

In some types of insulin, small white clumps form at the bottom of the bottle. This white matter resembles milk curd and is a sign that the insulin should not be used.

If the bottle of insulin was left out in the sun or in an environment in which the temperature rose above 86 degrees, then it is best not to take chances with it. Sun and high temperature are both contributors to insulin going bad.

The best and most reliable way to tell if insulin is not working is the bodys reaction to it when it is injected. Insulin is used to lower blood sugar readings, when it is injected, within a short period of time, blood sugar readings should begin to drop. The normal person has a blood glucose reading of 80-100 mg/dl. Optimally a diabetic tries to keep within 20-40 points of the highest number. The diabetic uses an at-home meter to monitor this. The blood can be tested to make sure that, after injection, the insulin is having the desired effect.

Does Insulin Go Bad If Not Refrigerated Guide On Insulin Storage

For those that take insulin, the daily routine is not something you want to be further frustrated by thinking about taking care of your insulin storage. But, its important to ensure insulin is kept at the appropriate temperatures to ensure its effective use. So, do you refrigerate insulin?

In this article, were going to discuss temperatures that insulin should be stored in, as well as guidelines for different brands and some helpful tips on storage and use.

Does Insulin Go Bad If Not Refrigerated? As a general rule, insulin should be refrigerated. However, insulin can be kept at room temperature, meaning not in the refrigerator for an approximate of 28-30 days. Up to a maximum of one month, insulin should be refrigerated at a temperature between 36 degrees and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insulin has significant usage in the USA because of the increasing rate of diabetes. Because of this, appropriate insulin usage and storage has always been a concern for many.

First of all, insulin is sensitive to temperatures that are too high or low. So, its always recommended to store all the insulin supplies in the refrigerator as a habit. Apart from that, if youre here to look for information on why insulin needs to be refrigerated and other What Ifs, then read on.

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