Transporting Insulin Is Easier Than You Think
For a long time, Williams thought she had to keep all her insulin refrigerated, even the vial she was using at that time. But then she found out that only the extra vials of insulin have to be refrigerated.
"You can keep your open vial at room temperature. Just don't let it get excessively hot," Williams says. "That was nice to realize. Now when I go to the yarn store, I just stick the vial and syringe into my pocketbook, or I keep it at the side of my desk when I'm working on the computer so I don't have to run to the refrigerator."
Saul says that even going out to dinner with your insulin is easier these days. "With the insulin pens we have now, injecting is very easy and can even be discreetly done at the dinner table."
Flying with insulin is usually not a problem, Saul says. "The TSA has become educated about this subject." To be safe, however, she advises carrying a "travel letter" from your doctor with you whenever you must go through airport security with your insulin.
Practice Good Insulin Management
Familiarize yourself with when you need to take your specific type of insulin, when it will start to work, what its peak times are, and how long one dose of insulin will last.
"You need to understand the action time of your insulin," Saul explains. "For example, rapid-acting insulins start acting in about 10 to 15 minutes. They peak in about 2 hours, and last about 4 hours in the body. So it's important not to take additional injections to correct your blood sugar during that time."
As long as your insulin is refrigerated, it will last a long time. Once you've taken it out of the fridge and opened it, it has a 30-day shelf life. It's important to note the date of first use on the vial.
Track Your Blood Sugar Carefully
"Keep a regular record of your blood sugar when on insulin," Saul says. "This can help you manage both your blood sugars and the insulin you're taking. You'll see patterns and trends."
For example, say you're on a once-a-day dose of long-acting insulin, and your goal is to get your morning sugar level under 130. "Check it in the morning," Saul says. If you're not at your goal yet and you're not having high blood sugar episodes, you may need to increase your dose. Talk with your doctor or diabetes educator. Tracking and monitoring your sugars this way gives you authority over your own care.