Monday, 27 January 2014

Keeping Insulin Safe During a Heat Wave

Sometimes when you are traveling or even at home or work, your insulin will be subjected to temperature extremes, including freezing, or heat wave temperatures. Since insulin is very sensitive to temperature changes, it needs to be protected.

If you are just going for a short trip during the winter, then the safest place to keep your insulin is inside its case, on the inside of your coat. As long as you don't get overheated, your body temperature will keep your insulin warm enough. However, don't have it too close, or the temperature can get too warm for it. If you'll be in a heated car, not outside, then keeping it in your usual bag or pocket might be warm enough. Just don't store it right next to a heat source. Its a good idea to have some kind of insulin around insulin in any extremes to keep it from getting too warm or too cold so pack it in some sort of insulated pack or bag whenever the temperatures might go outside optimum ranges. Insulin can be very expensive, plus you don't want to be without a vital medication when you need it. Planning is essential.

For summertime, you should check the temperature range that is safe and have a plan for keeping your insulin in use cool during heat waves. You can store your supply in the fridge (as long as your fridge doesn't freeze things). However, for your insulin pen in current use, you need something portable, so read on.

One word about ice. NEVER use ice directly next to your insulin. It WILL freeze enough to make it useless. If you plan to pack your insulin in a cooler with your lunch, make sure your insulin is as far away from the ice pack as possible to avoid freezing it. I wrap a clean kitchen towel around my pen case. I put the ice on the other side of the cooler, as far from the insulin as possible. The towel keeps the insulin pen case where I put it, and protects it if it should shift in transport.

Once you open it, insulin is fine at average room temperatures, however, if its hot enough to use an air conditioner, then you probably need to take precautions about the heat. All insulin packaging comes with an insert that tells you the safe temperature range for your product. Always check the recommendations in the insert.

If you'll be traveling, or live where there are heat waves during the summer, I strongly advise you to get a FRIO wallet for your insulin.

Frio uses water evaporation to keep insulin and other temperature sensitive medications at a cool temperature without risk of freezing during a heat wave, without relying on any type of refrigeration. The wallets are small enough to carry with you, and you can also get larger ones for supplies needed over an extended period such as a vacation.

Frio can be used anywhere that you have access to clean water, its very portable, and simple to use, and you can even get one for a pump if you have one.

I've been using water evaporation to keep my insulin pens protected during heat waves for several years now, and have never had a problem. Frio is a reliable product and the concept is simple and effective.

I highly recommend it!

Here's the link:

I have no association with Frio, other than being a happy customer.

Freezing: As far as I know, the simplest way to tell if insulin has frozen, is to look for changes in appearance. It might have become cloudy or have particles in it that are not normally present. There might be a crack in the cartridge. If there are no observable changes, I test my insulin by using it. If it doesn't bring my  blood sugar down as it normally would, then it has indeed been frozen. The same applies to extreme heat. It renders insulin useless. I don't know of any other way to test insulin other than sending it back to the company.

I once sent insulin to the company to be tested, and it was fine, but instead of returning it, they threw it out! There goes my money! So now I just test by using it. This is how I test it, its up to you to decide if you want to do this or not. Consult your doctor first or call the company and follow their advice.

This blog is for entertainment purposes only. Always follow the advice of your doctor or diabetes nurse educator, or your endo.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Tips for Insulin Users


Injecting Insulin

As always, this Blog is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult your doctor or diabetes nurse educator before making any changes to your diabetes care routine. I am NOT a doctor, I am a diabetic, and this is what works for me. Talk to your doctor first, before trying anything new.

This subject comes up fairly frequently and over the years I've learned a few things that might help you with your insulin injections, especially Lantus, which has a tendency to burn.

 More than you ever wanted to know about injecting insulin:
If you're using Lantus, you have probably discovered that it can burn like crazy!

Lantus burns most when it's cold. To avoid this problem, you can keep it at room temperature up for to 28 days with no problems unless you live in a hot climate or the temperature rises over 86°F (30°C). If the temperature may go higher, then you need to either store it in the fridge during the heat wave, or use a FRIO wallet. 
In summer heat waves I use a FRIO wallet to keep my insulin cool but not cold enough to burn. FRIO wallets work by the cooling process of water evaporation. Its cheap and it works, and there's no risk of freezing your insulin like there can be if you use freezer packs. Frozen insulin is useless, so don't risk freezing it by putting it next to a frozen ice pack!

For more info about Frio products click here:

In any case, even if you store it in the fridge, it should be tossed after 28 days of being open and in use. It looses its effectiveness after that.

TIPS for all insulins:

To reduce bruising inject more slowly, and don't move the needle while it's in. Moving it or jiggling it can cause a lot of bruising, ask me how I know!

After injecting, hold the needle in place for 20 seconds, then withdraw smoothly. Holding it reduces leakage when you withdraw the needle.
Don't inject near bruises, it causes absorption problems. Avoid veins and capillaries too, there is an increased risk of bruising and bleeding but there's also a risk of sudden hypoglycemia from injecting into a capillary or vein. This is very dangerous and must be avoided.

Don't reuse needles, it adds to the bruising/bleeding problem. Dull needles tear the skin instead of just piercing it. Today's needles are not as thick or sturdy as the needles used in previous decades. They don't hold up well enough to reuse. There is also a risk of infection with reusing needles.

If you want to see what a used needle looks like:

Now do you really want to shove that dull dirty needle into your sensitive skin?

I've found that a supplement called bioflavonoids helps reduce bruising. It strengthens the cell walls. Ask your doctor about trying it.

For more information on Lantus:

From the Lantus website:

16.2 Storage

LANTUS should not be stored in the freezer and should not be allowed to freeze. Discard LANTUS if it has been frozen.
Unopened Vial/ SoloStar disposable insulin device:
Unopened LANTUS vials, cartridge systems and SoloStar device should be stored in a refrigerator, 36°F – 46°F (2°C – 8°
C). Discard after the expiration date.
Open (In-Use) Vial:
Vials must be discarded 28 days after being opened. If refrigeration is not possible, the open vial can be kept unrefrigerated for up to 28 days away from direct heat and light, as long as the temperature is not greater than 86°F (30°C).
Open (In-Use) SoloStar disposable insulin device:
The opened (in-use) SoloStar should NOT be refrigerated but should be kept at room temperature (below 86°F [30°C]) away from direct heat and light. The opened (in-use) SoloStar device must be discarded 28 days after being opened.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Notice to Readers

Notice to Readers:

The content of this blog is for entertainment purposes only. 

It may or may not apply to your personal situation.

I am not a medical doctor. Please contact your own physician, or health care provider for any issues or concerns about your diabetes, health and well-being and before making changes in your care plan.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Glucose Tablets: An Essential Safety Measure for Insulin Users

Essential Safety Measures for Insulin Users

Something we all need once we start using insulin
 is a quick fix if our blood glucose goes too low.

If you're a type 2, and on oral meds, diet and exercise, your blood glucose may go low occasionally. However, when you start insulin, you'll experience more severe lows, that have a sudden onset, and you may not have the physical strength and presence of mind to deal with it, if you fail to prepare ahead of time.

One item you must have on hand is glucose tablets.

There are several brands, but I find the least expensive and most widely available brand is Dex4.

You can buy Dex4 in large jars of 50, which will treat about 15 lows, and there are also 10 tablet tubes. The tubes will only treat 3 lows or possibly 4.  The larger bottles are more economical. 

There are other brands of glucose available, these are simply the brand that I prefer, as it is easy to find, and not as expensive as the other ones. 

You should always carry glucose tablets with you when you go out, even in your own backyard. You should keep some in a small jar in every room of your home too. They should be easy to see at a glance, and easy to reach from whatever chair you normally sit in. For example, you should be able to reach them at your desk, your living room chair, kitchen table, in your car, your place of work, and where you sleep.

They should never be out of reach! 

Take the time now to break the seal on the bottle and open the lid, then screw it back on just enough to close, so its not tight. You need to keep moisture out, but have the lid loose enough for a weakened person to open in an emergency. If you go low, you will be weaker than normal, and probably confused as well.

If you take the time now to put at least 6 to 8 glucose tablets in small jars, label them, and put one in each location, it could save your life someday. It will certainly give you some security, knowing that you're prepared for the lows that will occur.

Why got to all this trouble you ask? Well, when a real low strikes, you may be too weak to walk, let alone hunt for and open a new, still sealed jar. You may not even have the strength to open a lid if its screwed on too tightly. Confusion is part of extreme low blood glucose, so be prepared now, so you can deal with it when it strikes.

Family members need to know what and where your glucose tablets are too. They need to know how to help if you get so low you can't even think of taking glucose tablets.

Here's a handy product that can be used to carry them when you're away from home, at work, etc.

This is the Quick Fix Key Chain for glucose tablets. The Dex4 tablets fit into these perfectly.

I rotate mine, as they do absorb more moisture when stored in these key-chain holders. You can find this product at  Quick Fix Key Chain

I've also seen these on 
A similar product was also available in a free kit from Bayer, although that offer might have expired by now. You must be an insulin user to qualify for the kit.  Special Kit Offer from Bayer

 Dex 4 is available in tablets, gels and liquid form. The 50 count jar of tablets is the most economical form, and easier to find too. Other brands may be more readily available in your part of the world. The important thing is to get some, and have them on hand, where you'll need them, not stuck in the back of a cupboard somewhere, collecting dust!

Take the time now to get some glucose tablets and put them where you can easily find and use them, when the need arises.

You won't be sorry that you did! 


Wednesday, 21 March 2012



What is this circle of testing,
counting carbs, and injecting insulin?

What does this tight control gain?
Why do I test over and over,
repeating the endless cycle of blood?

I celebrate each little victory,
a lower A1c, creating a new recipe
that doesn't send my glucose soaring,
finding a few moments of peace
when I actually forget my diabetes
and just live in the moment.

Control - I never knew
how much I would learn
to value that word.

I control my blood glucose 
as much as humanly possible,
instead of letting it...

Control me.

No comas, blindness, amputations,
no suffering like my grandmother,
had to go through.

Who am I to complain
about a few finger sticks,
counting carbs, injecting insulin,
getting labwork done,
overcoming my fear of needles,
when it can save my eyes,
save my feet, save my very life?

So what if I have to count carbs
and feel like a pincushion?
I'd rather count 
than die a little
every day...

Wouldn't you?


Its worth every moment that I give,
every day, month after month,
to stay here and enjoy
the spring blossoms on the apple tree,
the crash of waves on the shoreline after a storm,
the voice of my sweetheart in the starry dark,
my daughter's smiling face,
and someday...

the laughter of my grandchildren.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Low Carb Pie Crusts - Two to Choose From!

Low Carb Pie Crusts: 

Here's a couple you can choose from:

Healthy High Fiber Pie Crust

2 C. Fiber One cereal ground/crushed
3 T. melted butter
2 T. granular Splenda

Mix ingredients well, press into a lightly greased pie plate.

Bake 10 minutes @ 350 degrees F

Cool. Add filling of choice. I like to add a sugar free vanilla pudding filling with some fat free cream cheese stirred into it to make it taste like cheesecake. Then I top with strawberries if they are in season.

Almond Meal Pie Crust

This works best for a 9" pie pan. If you have an 8" one, the crust will be a little thicker, or you can cut back on the ingredients a bit. Very easy to make, tastes a lot like shortbread and its gluten free too!

1 and 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Artificial sweetener equal to 3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter (if the pie pan is microwave safe, melt the butter in it) and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly.

Nutritional Information: The whole pie shell has 11 grams effective carbohydrate2 plus 17 grams fiber and 30 grams protein.

You can find lots of ideas for pie crusts and even recipes without crust, that are lower in carbs. Just Google it! 

Em's Diabetic Friendly Bran Muffins

Em's Diabetic Friendly Bran Muffins
Here's my recipe for Bran Muffins, for diabetics or those on a low carb diet
These muffins are not as large as regular muffins, but this means that they also don't have as many carbs per muffin as regular muffins either! 
1 1/3 cups prune juice
1 1/2 cups Fibre One cereal , OR unprocessed bran

2 cups Buttermilk OR 2 cups milk + 4 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup Vegetable oil

2 whole eggs (or egg whites to make same quantity)
1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 Tbsp Ground cinnamon
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 cup Oat Bran (the type you have to cook)
1/2 cup Splenda (granular Splenda for baking, no sugar added)
1 Tbsp Baking soda

Optional flavours to add
2 Tbsp Unsweetened cocoa (substitute for 2 Tbsp of the flour)
OR 1/2 tsp Powdered ginger
1/2 OR cup Unsweetened coconut flakes
OR 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (must be thawed  first)

To make the batter:

Heat prune juice in microwave until hot but not boiling, in a large Pyrex measuring cup. Add bran and let sit 10 minutes.

Stir in buttermilk or milk with vinegar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract.

In separate large bowl stir together cinnamon, flours, oat bran, sugar, Splenda, and baking soda.

Mix together gently and pour into greased silicone muffin pans suitable for your microwave.

To use:

Medium muffins: Spray microwavable silicone muffin pan with Pam, and measure 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes or until done. Each muffin will have approximately 15 EEC (carbs minus fibre) or less. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.

For mini-muffin pan: measure 1/8th cup of batter into mini-muffin cups, and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Each mini-muffin will have about 8 carbs each, (EEC – carbs minus the fibre).
You can freeze after cooled, in  a ziplock bag. Just thaw in the microwave when you want a treat.

Or you can bake in a regular oven, set at 375 F for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Spray the muffin pan first with a non-stick spray such as Pam and fill each muffin cup about 2/3's full.