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Insulin Pumps and Extreme Temperature

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  8/9/2012 3:30 PM

Tags:

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!

Comments

Joyce Fuller

Posted on Thu Aug 09 18:42:27 GMT 2012

I am a golfer and I have noticed on very hot days that the pump will not work, it has to cool down to check your blood, it doesn't hurt the pump. I wear it attached to bra or waist. I have a soft pouch that attaches to the belt and it works great.. i have been a diabetic for over 48 yrs and have not changed my lifestyle at all. In fact, I started playing golf 6 yrs after being diagnosed and have had my 5th son as a diabetic, I had gestational diabetic with 4th son and it didn't go away..........

Diane Holbert

Posted on Thu Aug 09 19:18:13 GMT 2012

Loved reading this article. It just reassured me that I was handling my pump and insulin in the proper manner.

Deanna

Posted on Thu Aug 09 20:24:32 GMT 2012

My tip is to be aware of the tape/adhesive on the set. When you get sweaty, the tape can pull away from the skin and it can pull the cannula out with it. You may want to use a different type or a stronger type of skin prep wipe that will add a little more stickiness for the tape. You also may want to use a liquid skin adhesive to get the tape to stick better.

Felicia

Posted on Thu Aug 09 20:32:46 GMT 2012

Yes keeping the insulin cool is a high priority!

my mini med has been placed in a sandwhich bag so condensation dosnt ruin it.
Then two bottles of water one refrigerated one frozen...put in a plasstic grocery bag then tide shut. The frozen water bottle dosnt touch the pump....just the cool water. mini med pump and water bottles careful put into a lunch / lunch bag cooler...with the tubeing closest to where the zipper is closed...no other product in the cooler other than fruit snacks of fruit juice box thing that are prepackaged.

Gary Barber

Posted on Thu Aug 09 22:27:25 GMT 2012

58 yo male. Have a Minimed 723 for 2 yrs now and it's great! I always keep it in a soft pouch around my neck anyway. The kind like a passport pouch. Have several pouches to change out when I sweat, and I keep my insulin vial in a small cool diabetes carrying case, or slip it back in the fridge for the 3 days til next change. Also apply an IV 3000 Infusion patch after insertion to help hold in place. Has worked so far. And remember, this is an unusual season, at least in Illinois.

Linda Donan

Posted on Tue Aug 14 12:07:36 GMT 2012

I once noticed that my minimed was uncomfortably hot against bare skin, but figured out that I had a bad cold and fever and had heated it up with my own body heat...so need to be careful about that, too!

Karrie

Posted on Wed Aug 15 03:47:40 GMT 2012

Joyce, I’m sorry you’re experiencing this problem with your pump. If you email me at loopblog@medtronic.com with additional contact information, I can have someone contact you to try to help.

Naomi Kingery

Posted on Thu Aug 16 15:31:09 GMT 2012

Thanks for sharing, everyone!

Scott K. Johnson

Posted on Wed Sep 12 23:52:26 GMT 2012

Naomi! Next time you're in MN give me a call!

Naomi Kingery

Posted on Thu Sep 13 21:00:12 GMT 2012

Will do, Scott!

Dani

Posted on Wed Jun 05 14:44:06 GMT 2013

I have been following Medtronic's advice of prepping my site with non-scented anti-perspirant. I love in an extremely hot and humid city, and this works wonders!

PAT & DAVID IVEYY

Posted on Wed Jun 05 14:46:31 GMT 2013

David has hax a pump for 32 yr. it has bee. lice saving for him. he is very peticular about how it is handled & make sure all the kinkz are correo cted immedintly. This machine has kept him alive. He follows instruction to a t. one off the thinvs he does deal with is scar tizsue after 32 yr of use.
i give the DOCTORS AT UAB. for saving his life.
THANKZ FOR LISTENING.

Editor's Note:
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

For more information, please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation.

Daniel Penner

Posted on Wed Jun 05 15:55:24 GMT 2013

The main thing I noticed is that my screen starts turning black, or gets spotches of black in the screen. I am assuming that the dark splotches are from the heat. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes not. Also, my trainer told me to take the pump off while doing really hot work, but the downside of that is I could be away from my pump for extended time periods, and I dont always have ttime to stop and give myself a little extra insulin., I did it several times and one time I forgot about it, and my BGs went over the cliff. Wont ever do that again, especially now that I found out about the Temp Basal setting, what a life saver. Yall are really cool, thanks for all the info.

Monica

Posted on Wed Jan 15 19:21:04 GMT 2014

I am a nurse and was out camping with my friend and it was cold. Her pump stopped working, We got emergency help, but I would like to know if the extremely cold weather affect the function of the delivery pump?

Naomi

Posted on Wed Jan 15 23:55:34 GMT 2014

I’m sorry to hear your friend’s pump stopped working while camping, Monica. It looks like you are in the UK. We're the US team, but please have your friend check here, www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/international-contacts, for local contacts who would be happy to help her out.

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