Fridge isn't cooling enough - what about my insulin?

I got myself a thermometer for the fridge. One of these wireless ones where you place the actual thermometers in various places in the fridge and they transmit the values to a display that is kept outside. This display also shows me the lowest and highest temperature recorded.

Well, this display now tells me that even though I set my fridge to max, the temperatures in the vegetable drawer lie between 10 and 14 degrees celsius. Insulin should be kept at 2-8 degrees celsius.

This worries me because I didn’t realize the fridge is that busted. I ordered a new one, but it will be about 1 1/2 weeks until I get it. Plus, after I got released from the hospital after diagnosis early March this year, I was also given pre-filled Humalog and Lantus pens, which I wanted to save up for emergencies… but perhaps the fridge was running that “hot” all the time, so … should I be concerned? Should I throw away these pre-filled pens?

I also have two Tresiba and two Toujeo pens my endo gave me for trying out. I got them on July 20th, and they are probably ok. I also got new Lantus and Humalog cartridges sometime afterwards (I get these automatically), they are most likely also fine. But … official recommendations consider 15 degrees celsious to be room temperature, and 14 degrees is only a little below that. At “room temperature”, official recommendations state to not use insulin after 28 days!

So, am I right to assume that my insulin is most likely still OK? And what about the pre-filled pens?

I wouldn’t worry about 10 degrees Celsius at all for insulin. I would say all of your insulin is still ok but if you are worried then just use those older pens first and you will quickly know if they are good or not. BTW Tresiba is usable at room temperature for much longer than Lantus (I think 3 months).

Well, as said, its sometimes at 14 degrees… I also thought of placing the insulin further upwards, where it is a bit colder. As for the pens, yeah, you have a point, though I anyway was considered donating them, since I am considering switching away from Lantus, and I need pens that can administer half-unit Humalog dosages (which the pre-filled pen can’t).

Well if you can’t use the prefilled humalog pens then go ahead and donate them. 14 degrees isn’t room temperature either unless you really like your house cold :wink:. Definitely put the insulin in the colder area as long as it won’t freeze it.

Aside from the issue of insulin storage temperatures, there is the issue of food safety! I believe it is widely accepted that foods should be stored at 40 deg. F or below (4.5 deg C). Otherwise, all sorts of nasty things can start growing in your fridge.

Just as a long shot, how long has it been since you cleaned the dust bunnies off the condenser coils?

The coils are clean. But that fridge is probably quite old. I got it from the previous tenant … and I moved in about 7 years ago.

And yeah, food is another concern. Fortunately I usually use it up rather quickly, and the freezer compartment is fine.

Never throw out insulin without trying it first, unless it is cloudy. Insulin remains good at much higher temps than the manufacturers would have us believe.

2 Likes

Last year we had a almost identical problem & I was VERY concerned about my 3 month supply of Lantus & Novolog. Both the Lantus & Novolog states "unopened store at 36F-46F (2C-8C). I’m certain our 'fridge got warmer than that for quite a while (defective control-board), but Thankfully, all of the unopened Insulin was OK!! (Our Health Insurance would not have replaced it…). At todays prices, I now only get 1months worth at a time, but it was nice to learn that, at least in my case, we did’nt loose hundred’s of $ worth of insulin! A ‘testament’ to the Quality/Technology of todays manufacturers!!

My biggest concern. I keep two thermometers side by side in the fridge.

The worst thing is chunky milk first thing in the morning.

I wonder if home owners or renters insurance would replace it?

I doubt it. We had a power outage and my chest freezer in the barn was off for several days. I lost half a steer’s worth of meat. Home insurance? Farm insurance? NOT! I think I heard snickering in the background as they told me NO over the telephone. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

That’s a bummer! :frowning:

I now have a couple of thermometers that I place in the fridge. They transmit wirelessly the current temperature to a unit outside that shows me how cold it is in there, and what the min and max recorded temperature was. Turns out my fridge suddenly goes down to 6°C, sometimes back to 14°C etc. Well, the thing is old.

But no matter - new fridge is coming on Monday :sunglasses:

image
image

Seach words Portable medical fridge, Diabetic insulin cooler box, Medical refrigerator

Battery and plug in and they don’t cost that much. I was thinking of getting just to keep my stuff separate from my food refrigerator.

1 Like

I saw these too, but they did not have good reviews, and many of these are of questionable quality. Those who seem to be OK cost $300 or more. The idea is definitely great though.

1 Like