Insulin Pumps and Extreme Temperature
A change of scenery is always nice, and this summer my travel agenda has taken me to Arizona, South Carolina, and Minnesota so far. I first prepared for my trips by checking the weather forecast and learned I would be experiencing triple-digit weather, talk about change!
I did research to learn about heat and insulin pumps and I would like to follow up on the insulin storage blog I wrote last fall. Here’s the deal: you have to remember that the pump is a system. It isn’t just a medical device but it also holds medicine, in this case it is insulin. So, although our user guide says to avoid exposure over 108°F, it also says that you need to be careful with insulin in extreme temperatures. The stability of your insulin is most important because the extra heat shouldn’t cause any harm to the pump itself, but it could make your insulin weaker than it normally would be. (Note that most insulin companies advise not to store it in temperatures over 86°F, but check the label on the insulin you use.)
You can live an active lifestyle during the summer and enjoy those rays just as I have done, but keep these things in mind for added protection:
• Talk to your healthcare team about changing your infusion set more often or using extra tape to keep the set in place during the summer. Some people make it a point to put less insulin in their reservoir than normal so they can change out their set more often in hotter scenarios, likebeach days.
• Try not to expose your pump and insulin to direct sunlight; this may be a scenario where instead of wearing it in an external case or belt clip, you may want to slip it into your pocket so it is covered.
• If you wear your pump under your clothes where it is touching your skin, know that this can expose it to moisture when you sweat. Keep the buttons facing away from your skin and, to keep it more protected, try a soft cotton pouch or a baby sock like we’ve heard some customers have done.
• When I travel I use the Frio protective case to store my insulin, and I have heard that some pumpers actually wear their pump inside the Frio case on hot days. If you try this, just make sure your pump doesn’t get wet while doing so. (Note: Medtronic has never officially tested this product so we can’t guarantee its performance, so, keep a close eye on both your pump and insulin.)
If you have exposed your pump to high temperatures in the past, no need to worry but make sure to utilize these tips moving forward to keep your summer and diabetes management moving along as smoothly as possible. What is your favorite tip you may have learned along the way with hot summer heat? My personal thought on the best way to stay cool? Go shopping!