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How to keep your meds safe in a heat wave

Taking medication as prescribed can sometimes be a challenge on its own without adding tropical temperatures into the mix! Summer heat waves and equatorial latitudes can make us and our vessels swelter.

 

The added challenge is that some prescription and over-the-counter drugs -- drops, tablets, inhalers, ointments and injections -- require refrigeration or even freezing to maintain their integrity. Storing them at the wrong temperature can alter potency, shelf life and physical composition.

Make sure you have marine refrigeration you can depend on. It matters!

Here are some general rules for storing meds that must be refrigerated or frozen:

  • Know how to store frozen meds  Frozen medications should be stored at 5F (-15C) or colder.
  • Know how to store refrigerated meds  Refrigerated medications should be stored at temperatures between 35F and 46F (2C and 8C).
  • Maintain refrigerator settings  Refrigerator settings should be mid-range, at 41F (5C), to allow the largest safety margin, or level of fluctuation within the acceptable range.
  • Understand what doesn’t require refrigeration Never store medications in the refrigerator or freezer unless they are meant to be stored this way (ask your pharmacist if you are unsure). The moisture and temperature extremes may harm drugs that are best stored at room temperature.

    Insulin does not need to be refrigerated, but insulin stored in very hot or very cold temperatures may lose strength.

    Don't store your insulin in the glove compartment or trunk of your car. Backpacks and cycle bags can get quite hot in the direct sunlight. If you plan to travel by car or bike or to be out in the elements, take steps to protect your insulin. Many travel packs are available to keep your insulin cool.

    - See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/when-you-travel.html?utm_source=DSH_BLOG&utm_medium=BlogPost&utm_content=051514-travel&utm_campaign=CON#sthash.UhAnwwrG.dpuf

    Insulin does not need to be refrigerated, but insulin stored in very hot or very cold temperatures may lose strength.

    Don't store your insulin in the glove compartment or trunk of your car. Backpacks and cycle bags can get quite hot in the direct sunlight. If you plan to travel by car or bike or to be out in the elements, take steps to protect your insulin. Many travel packs are available to keep your insulin cool.

    - See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/when-you-travel.html?utm_source=DSH_BLOG&utm_medium=BlogPost&utm_content=051514-travel&utm_campaign=CON#sthash.UhAnwwrG.dpuf
  • Stand-alone units are best  Spill-over units are more likely to have significant fluctuations in temperature. For optimum storage use a stand-alone freezer or refrigerator to store meds.
  • Maintain original packaging  Store refrigerated medications in their original packaging. This helps protect them from light and keeps them visually distinct to avoid mix-ups.
  • Keep everything in the center Store medications on the central shelves, and keep them at least two to three inches away from the floor, plates, walls, and door to limit fluctuations in temperature.
  • Check temperatures regularly Set up a schedule to check the temperatures and for cleaning and defrosting.
  • Set your controller and be aware of out-of-range temperatures  If your medications are exposed to conditions that are too hot or cold, you may need to take action, such as checking with the drug manufacturer to find out if a medication should be discarded.

These suggestions can help make storing your medication a little less challenging when it gets hot, hot hot!

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