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Insulin Pumps and Snow
Heading out with your snowboard, skis, skates or snowshoes? To keep your medical devices functioning and your insulin from freezing, first take in these tips before you venture out in the snow and cold.
Here in Canada we’re familiar with the Rrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! of a frozen car battery that won’t catch… think of the smaller version in your blood glucose monitor, insulin pump, or Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and you can imagine the problem – cold batteries don’t function well, in your car and in your medical device.
Additionally, safe storage of insulin of any kind depends on preventing it from freezing – if frozen, it becomes useless and must be discarded, as thawing it doesn’t return it to its previous effectiveness.
So what can you do when you want to spend hours building the perfect snowman? Here are some possibilities:
- Just as it protects against high temperatures, Frio® pouches also protects that back-up insulin from freezing. We know of one Frio-user who slept overnight on the ice (in -2C temperatures) in Antarctica and had no problems with the insulin in their Frio® freezing.
- Try slipping a hand warmer packet inside your blood glucose monitor case to keep battery from freezing. It may also help to turn the monitor itself upside-down (i.e. battery-side-up) inside the case, so the battery is closest to the hand warmer.
You may find a foot warmer more convenient than a hand-warmer, as it’s flatter and has a sticky backing to keep the warmer in place.
- Plan what you will carry with you, and which supplies are best left back in the lodge or camp. In addition to sufficient low treatment, it is wise to carry with you (or your child) at a minimum: a blood glucose monitor, and insulin pump.. You may choose to leave a back-up supply of insulin, and insulin pens/syringes in a locker or pack at the lodge at the bottom of the ski hill or inside a camp house.
For more information on protecting your diabetes stuff in various environmental conditionsInsulin Pumps and Sun
Insulin Pumps and Surf
The above information was adapted with permission from The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic information handouts.
The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.
This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.
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