As the Weather Gets Colder, What Do You Do to Protect Your Gear from the Elements?

Dec 08, 2016

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The outdoor adventure crew at Connected in Motion has a few general suggestions that you can use, which may help keep your insulin safe when you are out in the cold this winter. And remember, Tandem insulin pumps are the only pumps with a temperature sensor that will warn you when the temperature inside the pump has reached a level that may have compromised the insulin in the cartridge. If your pump detects a temperature outside of the normal operating range – below 35˚F (2˚C) or above 113˚F (45˚C), or a battery temperature below 35˚F (2˚C) or above 125˚F (52˚C) – the Temperature Alarm occurs, protecting you from continuing to deliver insulin that may have lost its potency. 

  • Keep your pump close to your body when it is cold outside. Often, this means against your skin, under clothing, or in the inside pocket of a winter coat.
  • Don’t forget about your tubing! The insulin inside the tubing is susceptible to freezing, so be sure it also stays warm, by keeping it under clothing close to your body.
  • Vials of insulin to fill your pump cartridge refills should also be kept within the recommended temperature range. When insulin freezes and then thaws, it may be ineffective.  (Plus, insulin that is frozen solid is really hard to get out of the vial!)
  • Blood-glucose meters have normal operating temperature ranges too. Outside of this range they often won’t give any reading at all. Meters can be kept in waist belts such as SPIbelts and worn close to the body, under clothing. Consider tossing a hand warmer (you know, those little things that you shake, and then they heat up, like these) in the pocket that you're keeping your meter in.
  • Equipment that drops below the normal operating range can be warmed up quickly against skin. For meters with replaceable batteries, focus on warming the compartment that holds the battery first.

You can read more about the Temperature Alarm feature of Tandem pumps in your pump’s User Guide.

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CIM-cold-7-555Images courtesy Mike Last 

Avoid exposure of your pump to temperatures below 40°F (5°C) or above 99°F (37°C). Insulin can freeze at low temperatures or degrade at high temperatures. Insulin that has been exposed to conditions outside of the manufacturer’s recommended ranges can affect the safety and performance of the pump.

From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.

Important Safety Information