We all know that it is very important to maintain a required temperature for insulin and the temperature should not go above it or below it.
It is told that insulin must be handled carefully as it has the capacity to regulate the blood sugar level in diabetics and they find it difficult without injecting insulin.
But can you use frozen insulin or thawed insulin? Will insulin get spoiled after freezing or thawing? What happens when it is frozen and what is the required temperature for insulin? How to know whether the insulin is frozen or it is thawed?
Let us learn about all these concerns through this article.
Can Insulin Be Frozen?
Insulin is actually protein dissolved in a liquid (say water) and same as water its freezing point is 0 degrees Celcius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
When insulin freezes, the liquid becomes crystal and hardens. In turn, the molecules in it will get broken and insulin will lose its properties and efficiency.
Thus it becomes incapable to regulate the blood sugar level and diabetics find no use in them. So it is not recommended to use frozen insulin.
Literally, insulin freezes at 0 degrees Celcius, but for safety measures, you should store insulin above 2 degrees Celcius or 36 degrees Fahrenheit. They are temperature-sensitive liquids and should be protected from extreme temperatures.
They must be stored under a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celcius (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) before opening to work effectively. After opening the insulin pen, the cartridge and vials can stay at room temperature (not more than 25 degrees Celcius) for about a month without spoiling.
Can You Use Frozen Insulin When Thawed?
After thawing, the frozen insulin come back to its liquid state, but it will not regain the properties which were lost during frozen. Moreover, the molecules which were broken will not join when thawed.
In fact, insulin loses its efficiency and property once frozen and becomes inefficient to regulate the blood sugar level in your body.
So even if it is thawed, the frozen insulin can be used for nothing other than thrown into the garbage. So always prevent it from freezing, otherwise, it will get wasted.
How To Know The Insulin Has Been Frozen?
Like water insulin also will get frozen at freezing point and becomes the same liquid state when kept at room temperature but unlike water, it will lose its properties and becomes inefficient. But how to find it has been frozen before? Let us see to it.
It is easy to know when it freezes because like water it becomes opaque and rigid. Also, it won’t be possible to inject as it won’t pass through the needle in solid form. But it is very difficult to know if your insulin has been frozen and then thawed. After thawing it becomes in the same form as it was before freezing.
But in some cases, there will be a change in the color and texture of insulin. If you are a keen observer you will find it easily. When spoiled it will become cloudy and clumpy often. You may also see white strings and particles floating. In such cases throw it away or replace it from the store you bought it.
But in some cases, you will not find any of these signs and you will only realize when there is a high sugar level in your blood when checking.
How To Prevent Insulin From Freezing?
There are many situations where your insulin might get frozen accidentally like, leaving your insulin in direct contact with ice packs in a medicine cooler; when you travel to cold icy regions; when accidentally leaving your insulin in the car in a cold climate; etc. here there are some ways to save your insulin from freezing.
Place your insulin in the right side compartment of the refrigerator
It is safe to place the insulin in the right compartment of the fridge and that too in the middle shelf. The upper zone which is closer to the freezer is at risk of low temperature, while the middle zone is out of risk and the temperature is almost stable here.
Keep insulin close to your body in cold weather
It is better to place the insulin close to your body if you are traveling to regions of cold weather. Your body temperature is enough to keep your insulin safe without freezing. So in such a situation always place them in your inner pockets or far better if it comes in direct contact with your body. Some insulin pumps are built with sensors that warn you when it gets too cold.
Use an insulin cooler with anti-freeze in hot weather
It is also necessary to protect your insulin from high temperature too i.e, above 25 degrees Celcius. In such cases use an insulin cooler with anti-freeze security. There is a chance that coolers without anti-freeze security may freeze your insulin. You can use medium-fridges too which have cooling crystals that freeze at 2 degrees Celcius which is a safe temperature for insulin.
Briefly, insulin will get spoiled if it is frozen and even thawing it back to liquid will not help. It is temperature sensitive and should be maintained between 2 to 8 degrees celsius.
Otherwise, it will become less efficient and loses its capacity to break down glucose and regulate blood sugar level. So you must be very careful while using insulin.