Temperature monitor for insulin storage


We’ve all been confounded about unexplained glucose excursions. I see Adam Brown now writes about 42 things that can affect blood glucose.

I once froze a six-month supply of insulin due to inadvertent contact with the refrigerator thermostat wheel. Do we really know the performance of our home fridge when it comes to temperature control?

I’m experimenting with a pair of MedAngel bluetooth sensors. The sensors can store up to 7 days of data so whenever you’re in range, the data will transfer to the smartphone app. The company expects the pancake battery to last for nine months. When the battery gets low, MedAngel will automatically mail you a replacement battery. How cool is that?

They sell on Amazon for $45. I have no affiliation with MedAngel other than as a curious customer.

I’ve seen this and have considered buying it, not only for my fridge but also to keep with medication (specifically insulin and EpiPens) when I’m travelling. I’d be interested in your thoughts on it so far.

I’ve been storing insulin in all forms since 1978 and I’ve never had a problem so why do we need fancy equipment? If it’s in the fridge I keep it in the butter compartment with the door taped shut


Here’s a tip. Don’t ever put insulin in a hotel mini fridge as it can easily freeze. You’re better off to just leave it at room temperature

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I agree. Seems like the gadget fixes a problem that isn’t really much of a problem. In college I stored my entire semester supply of insulin in a drawer. Never had a problem with it.


I think this would be a helpful tool mostly for travelling. I’ve travelled to places with 35°C weather and -35°C weather, and I’ll admit to worrying about my insulin and epinephrine in both scenarios.

I know there are many out there who use insulin left out without problems. But I’ve experienced insulin “going bad” (Humalog and Lantus), and although I’m not sure it was temperature, it would be nice to be able to rule that out if insulin doesn’t appear to be working well. Especially given the study that circulated recently about insulin varying in potency from 13% to 94%, presumably due to temperature variations after leaving the manufacturing facility, which makes me think that temperature often does matter.

I thought about this, too, when these temperature sensors crossed my attention. While refrigerators as a whole are benign almost all the time, why not put in place a system that shuts off one point of vulnerability for an essential medication that sustains our lives?

Even if you just used one sensor to look at the various locations within your fridge to figure out if you have any warm spots or intermittent freezing locations.

I’m using both of my sensors in storage mode right now. It will alert me when the temperature drifts out of the 36-46 degrees F. When you put the device in the short term storage mode, it sets the temperature range near room temperature.

It would also help you verify if a temporary fridge, such as one in a hotel, could be checked and make sure you don’t freeze your traveling supply.

Can the sensors be shut off to conserve battery? It sounds like the battery may not be user-replaceable? I think if I got something like this, I would use it almost exclusively while travelling.

The battery is user replaceable. The only way to conserve battery power is to take the battery out of the device. If the battery really lasts nine months, I don’t think that’s too much of a service burden.

Do you buy insurance? I’m not trying to sell you on the idea, just that others may look at it differently.

I was sick when I had to throw out 15-20 vials of ruined frozen insulin. What a waste!

A friend & fellow Dmom bought the MedAngel for her daughter’s mini fridge in her dorm. She has a separate mini fridge just for storing insulin. With a 3-month supply plus spares stored inside, I can understand her concern. BTW, the mom loves the MedAngel.

Yes, I would be bummed if I had a bunch of frozen insulin, also, Terry. That’s a major downer. However, the manner in which I store insulin protects it from freezing in a refrigerator that is nearly always between 31 and 35 degrees in the center of the fridge. The butter compartment is on the fridge door, high up, and is buffered from low temps by the butter compartment door. That is why the 20+ vials and numerous pens haven’t frozen. Ever. Our butter compartment appears to be almost 2x the size of the one in the pic.

A bigger concern for me is that when I go on vacation,that I might drop a vial and shatter it. Which is why I always go with 2 vials, despite never using even 1/2 of a vial during up to 2 weeks of travel. I have broken at least one vial, thanks to butter-fingers. :slight_smile:

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cool, Eddie! But the price is a put off for me as I’ve got free insulin. But that’s a super good idea for anyone who has to pay a lot for their insulin, or anyone concerned that they may break their only vial without quick access to another one.

Am I missing something or does that device only communicate through BT? Seems to me, it would be so much more attractive of a device if was hooked up to wifi, so that you could be alerted anywhere in the world that you had cell service (or wifi). And how is the signal going to get through a fridge cabinet?

It’s my understanding that the MedAngel only communicates via BlueTooth. I had the same suspicion that the BT signal would have difficulty penetrating the metal fridge enclosure, yet it appears to work. My phone right now is about 10 feet away from my refrigerator and I’m receiving the BT signal OK. It’s showing 1 of 3 bars signal strength from one sensor and 2 of 3 bars on the other sensor.

But if you are that close, you could just open the door and look at a conventional, cheap thermometer. No??

Every morning, when I first open the fridge, I check the temp, as it hovers very close to 31-33 where I have it sitting at a very cold portion of the fridge. If I try moving the sliding thermostat control the slightest amount to a warmer setting, in a day or so, the temps will increase far beyond the 2-4 degrees I’d like it to increase. So I keep a close eye on the near-freezing temp. As long as stuff doesn’t actually freeze, I figure the thermometer is likely off of dead-on accurate, by about 2 degrees. Keeping the fridge colder than most folks do, I get longer life from milk and other items. I’ve been to people’s homes where the fridge was in the high 40’s.

True, but I would not be able to see the longer record that the sensor provides.

I can scroll this screen back to the day I put this sensor in service.

this reminds me of how some people even monitor their sleep. :slight_smile:

Keeps your beer cool as well!