When your meds need to be cooled ALL THE TIME — MedAngel Guest Post

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By Jacob Greene

Every day, I use my cystic fibrosis medications. To stay effective, they need constant refrigeration. Not always easy as a college student and when travelling. Here’s some tips&tricks I have learned on the way!

In 2012, I went on an eleven day, 100-mile backpacking expedition in the high desert of New Mexico.

Most people don’t think about being without refrigeration for a week and a half, but for someone who relies on refrigeration to store their daily cystic fibrosis medications, being without a fridge was an issue.

Thankfully the trip ended well, though, as I discovered that insulin-storing cool bags were the solution to my refrigeration needs.

Fast forward five years and I am now a college student depending on my dorm room mini-fridge to store my medication. While I might not have to resort to fancy ice packs to keep my medicine cold, mini-fridges are notoriously unreliable.

Here are a few tips I have learned regarding keeping medication cold.

1. Refrigerators die and the power goes out. It is just a part of life.

Unfortunately, though, a dead fridge can result in ruined medication. Thus, I definitely recommend having a back-up plan in place for when your fridge does die or lose power. Whether it is asking family or friends to store medicine in their fridge or setting up a backup generator for when the power goes out, having a plan in place helps ensure your medications won’t warm up.

2. When your pharmacy or hospital ships medication, keep the ice packs.

Keep the ice packs they used to ship the medication! They work great for keeping medication cold on airplanes or trains, and are convenient because you can throw them away after reaching you destination.

3. Water activated cool bags and hotel ice-machines.

If you are staying in a hotel with no refrigeration, cool bags designed to store insulin are great options for keeping any medication (not just insulin) cold for extended periods of time. I even used them on my back-packing trek in New Mexico. All you have to do is soak the bag in cool water for a few minutes, and then it will stay cold for the day.

If nothing else, you can always get ice from the hotel ice-machine and store your medication in that. Ice is definitely a last resort option, though, as putting medication on ice is not very effective in keeping the medicine cold, plus you risk freezing it, if you cover them with ice.

4. If you are a college student, invest in a quality mini-fridge.

Mini-fridges are very unreliable, so definitely get a good one. On the topic of mini-fridges, do not store your medicine near the ice-shelf at the top of the mini-fridge. The area around the freezer compartment gets too cold, and freezing your medication is just as bad as letting it warm up.

Well there you have it — all my tips on keeping medicine cold! Hopefully you found these helpful, and best of luck on storing your medication!

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Sep 26, 2018
Pharmaceutical sciences, now solving problems around meds and temperature.