Storing Insulin and Prefilling Syringes - Topic Overview
Insulin can become damaged and ineffective if it is
not stored properly.
Unopened insulin that is packaged in small glass
bottles (vials) should be stored in the refrigerator.
is packaged in small cartridges (containing several doses) is more stable. It
may be kept unrefrigerated, but it will last longer if it is kept in the
refrigerator. Insulin cartridges are used in pen-shaped devices (insulin pens)
with attached disposable needles.
Always read the insulin package information that tells the best way
to store your insulin.
There are many things you can do to prevent the development and progression of diabetes complications. After reading about the following diabetes complications, talk to your doctor about your health risk for these problems and some ways they can be prevented.
You can keep open bottles with you if you keep them in a dark place.
The bottles should not be exposed to temperatures below
36°F (2.2°C) or above
86°F (30°C). Never leave
insulin in the sun or in your hot car, because sunlight and heat reduces the strength of the insulin.
Avoid shaking insulin bottles and cartridges too much to prevent loss
of medicine strength and to prevent clumping, frosting, or particles settling
out. Follow the storage information provided by the manufacturer.
The first time you use an insulin bottle, write the date on the
bottle label. Always store an extra bottle of each type of your insulin in the
If you cannot prepare an
insulin dose but can give the injection, you may need
someone to prepare your insulin dose for you. A family member, friend, or
health professional can prefill insulin syringes for you. If you prefill
Store prefilled syringes in the refrigerator with
the needle pointing up to prevent insulin from blocking the needle opening.
Syringes filled with one type of insulin (rather than mixed insulin) will keep
for 30 days.
Store different doses separately. For example, if your
morning dose is different from your evening dose, have a different container
for morning and evening injections.
Before using a prefilled
syringe, allow the syringe to warm for 5 to 10 minutes. Gently roll the syringe
between your hands to warm the insulin. If the syringe contains a cloudy
insulin, make sure all of the white powder is dissolved before giving the
Another option is to use an insulin pen. You do not have to
put insulin into a syringe. You put a cartridge of insulin into the
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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