Power outages and insulin storage

Discussion in 'Health Links / FAQs about Feline Diabetes' started by Jill & Alex (GA), Jul 14, 2019.

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  1. Jill & Alex (GA)

    Jill & Alex (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    Idjit's mom
    Joined: Apr 3, 2018
    Power Outages and Insulin Storage

    Thoughts and ideas from FDMB members
    ~ Compiled & written by Idjit's Mom ~

    Power outages happen. It's best to be prepared and have a plan, supplies and information in the event of a power outage that might last more than a few hours. Most people have experienced temporary power outages, and have taken action to have alternate lighting, a way to heat food, and keep refrigerated or frozen food at a safe temperature.

    However, during an extended power outage that might last days or weeks, it's important to extend that plan for basic living, and now that your cat is diabetic and needs insulin injections, it's critical to include the proper storage of insulin in your plan.

    At what temperature should the insulin be kept?
    • In-use and unopened Lantus, Basaglar, and Levemir should be stored upright in the refrigerator between 36 to 46 degrees F (2 to 8 degrees C). Do NOT use Lantus, Basaglar, or Levemir if it has been frozen. Protect from light.
    • Vetsulin/Caninsulin Store in an upright position under refrigeration at 2° to 8° C (36° to 46° F). Do not freeze. Protect from light. Per contact with Merck Animal Health, Vetsulin left at room temperature overnight under 77 degrees F, returned to refrigeration should remain stable. Contact your veterinarian for additional information for prolonged room temperature storage.
    • Prozinc It is recommended to store Prozinc in an upright position under refrigeration at 36º- 46º F (2º-8º C). Do not freeze. Protect from light. Per contact with Boehringer Inglehiem Vetmedica- studies indicate Prozinc should stay stable up to 28 days at room temperature up to temps of 78 degrees F. Protect from light, store in box or in cupboard.
    • Novolin/NPH Keep opened/unopened Novolin N in the refrigerator between 36° to 46°F (2° to 8°C). Do not freeze. If refrigeration is not possible, the unopened vial may be kept at room temperature for up to 6 weeks (42 days), as long as it is kept at or below 77°F (25°C).
    What should you do in the event that the insulin has already gone bad? If your regular insulin can't be replaced immediately, is a visit to Walmart to get over-the-counter Novolin (NPH) for use temporarily (until the usual kind can be obtained) a solution?

    If your cat needs insulin, Novolin (NPH) is better than nothing in an emergency. Stopping insulin altogether could end up being an invitation for ketones to develop.

    Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changes in insulin strength, timing of dosing, manufacturer, type (e.g., regular, NPH, or insulin analogs), species (animal and human), or method of manufacture (recombinant DNA versus animal-source insulin) may result in the need to change dosage.

    These are only a few links detailing storage of insulin for human diabetics and contain information on storage of insulin used by humans.
    There are many websites for information about disaster preparedness, as well as insulin storage. Do some independent research and educate yourself.

    Here is a list of some options and basic information for storing insulin during a power outage:
    • Open the fridge and/or freezer only when and for as long as necessary to maintain the cold environment as long as possible. Have a refrigerator thermometer in the fridge so you know it is maintaining temperature. Refrigerator thermometers are inexpensive and readily available.
    • MedAngel is a temperature sensor with an app for your phone which will allow you to know your insulin is at a safe temperature.
    • Frio Insulin Cooling Cases - This is a water evaporation system product that can keep insulin at the required temperature for up to 45 hours. No ice or coolers required. Reactivate anywhere water is available. If possible, store purchased sealed gallons of drinking water in the home. You may have cold running water if it's only a power outage, but under other circumstances or if you need to travel, you will need water for hydration and some can be used to reactivate the Frio container. Available via many online vendors or some pharmacies.
    Temporary solutions for a limited power outage or a need to leave the home.
    • Keep hard side re-freezable ice packs in your freezer. If you have a large cooler that you will store refrigerated food in, with ice or ice pack, you can insulate the insulin pens or vial for protection and store in the cooler as well. Small lunch box coolers can be found at thrift stores as well as purchased new from stores.
    • Visit a local store and buy bags or blocks of ice and store food/insulin in a cooler. Blocks of ice will last longer than bags of ice pieces.
      • If you store insulin in a cooler, you should insulate the insulin to help protect from breakage and freezing. Wrap it in a small towel, washcloths, or a small insulated lunch bag. Use the refrigerator thermometer in the cooler so you can observe temperature changes.
    • On a tight budget, no ice packs or coolers? You could also use clean mayonnaise jars, or other plastic jars, 3/4 full of water and freeze for ice packs, and a large soup pot/dutch oven or large saucepan with the "jar ice pack", insulated insulin and fridge thermometer to keep that precious insulin effective. If you need to travel with the DIY coolers, use duct tape to secure the lid or cover to prevent spillage.
    • Keep and refreeze the cold packs that come with your mailed/shipped insulin. Keep the insulin in the special insulated mailer it comes in for storage in the fridge or for insulation in a cooler.
    • Keep in mind that you may need to leave the home and you will want to have a separate cat emergency kit or add items to your own "bug out" bag for your diabetic cat.
    Many of us use our mobile phones not only to communicate, but also to enter data onto the spreadsheet and keeping that device charged is essential. You may need to contact the FDMB for advice or a veterinarian for help if you have cell service and if you have access to the internet. Have your password(s) memorized or written and stored in an accessible way, Have your vet's and the local ER vet clinic telephone number in your contacts on your cell phone.
    • Have an appropriate car charger for your mobile phone. All you need in the car to charge is a cigarette lighter and the car charging cable.
    • There are brands of portable cell phone chargers that do not require charging in your vehicle. Anker or Morphie are only two brands of a type of cell phone charger that you can charge via UBS or wall socket.
    Alternatively, there are hand crank/solar power/battery power chargers. Prices and features vary.
    Example: RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Solar Weather Radio with LED Flashlight, 1000mAh Power Bank for iPhone/Smart Phone

    Lou is Idjit's mom. 9 y.o. male Maine Coon mix|16 #lDX 4/3/18|Relion Confirm|Raw/FoodFurLife supplement. OTJ 5/4/18 E WA state. Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better ~ Maya Angelou
    Idjit's Spreadsheet
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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