Insulin needs special attention over summer too 4 January 2016 Like our moods, insulin can be a little temperamental in the heat! Diabetes Educator Rachel McKeown from ADEA gives us tips on how to keep insulin safe and use-able! Top tips Insulin is safe to use for 4 weeks once opened. Open your insulin on the same day of the week, every 4 weeks- for example every 4th Sunday. Then on that 4th Sunday you will know to grab a new one and discard the old (even if it isnâ€™t empty). Try to keep the insulin out of the heat and in the shade, keep your insulin cool but donâ€™t let it freeze! The minimum temperature for insulin is 4-5 degrees. Anything lower, might freeze the insulin making it unsafe to use If youâ€™re not sure if the insulin has frozen or been damaged, donâ€™t use it. The insulin should always look like it is supposed to. If the insulin is meant to be clear, donâ€™t use it if itâ€™s not clear! Make sure there is no frosting in the vial and no lumps. Insulin pens Once an insulin pen is removed from the fridge, try to keep it at room temperature (15-25 degrees) If you are heading out for a day in the sun, put your insulin pen in an esky with an ice-brick. To avoid the insulin freezing, make sure you wrap the ice brick in a couple of tea towels or keep the insulin on the opposite side of the esky! Insulin pumps If the weather forecast is over 40 degrees, it may be easier and safer to use an insulin pen instead of an insulin pump. Itâ€™s easier to keep an insulin pen out of direct sunlight and in the shade. If you are planning to spend a lot of time in the sun (4-6 hrs), purchase a â€˜pocketâ€™ or casing for your insulin pump and put a cool gel pack in the pocket with the pump. Make sure the gel pack is not frozen, it only needs to be refrigerated; you donâ€™t want the insulin to freeze. When itâ€™s hot and you are sweating more than usual, the infusion set patch may dislodge. Try putting the infusion set where you donâ€™t sweat as much. Carry a spare infusion set and an extra insulin pen in case your infusion set comes unstuck. Staying cool Donâ€™t forget to look after yourself as well! Keep up the exercise when itâ€™s hot by changing your routine if necessary. Exercise in the late evening or early in the morning or try exercising indoors where thereâ€™s air-conditioning. Indoor exercise could include: yoga, dancing, sit-ups; anything to keep you moving as much as possible in the cool. Heat stroke can happen faster if you have more than one chronic health condition, for example diabetes and heart disease. Heat elevates your glucose levels and if your glucose levels are high, you may get dehydrated more easily. Itâ€™s important to drink lots of water and check your BGL regularly. The symptoms of a hypo are similar to overheating, making it even more important to check your BGL. Remember heat can also elevate your BGL so it may be a little higher than normal.