Keeping insulin cool?

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.

Keeping insulin cool?

Postby bud buddah » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:02 pm

Anyone had experience keeping insulin cool on the playa? I'm assuming I'll just have to keep it in my cooler, but I always worry about it getting too cold. Anyone have any tricks to share?
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Postby Bling » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:16 pm

Small propane fridge?
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Postby AntiM » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:30 pm

Use a "dry cooler" such as a small insulated lunchbox. That can go in the top of a cooler, perhaps in a giant plastic bag, just do not let it get wet.

I keep my regular meds in a small insulated lunchbox, wrapped in heavy cloth and kept in the shade. I'm assuming insulin needs more chilling?
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Postby Token » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:38 pm

Google insulin cooling case.

Lots of stuff available.

The evaporative wet cases will work well at BM.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:30 am

Good coolers have a tray or an option for a tray at the top.
This is normally okay.
You can put it in insulation, as suggested.

I have a small 12 volt compressor cooler often used in off grid countries for medicine.
Also an option.
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Postby Bling » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:03 am

Gyre, does that cooler cool to an absolute temp? Most of them do 40 degrees below ambient, so if it's 95 outside, it's 55 in the cooler, which is too warm for safe food storage, and probably insulin.
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Postby teardropper » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:11 am

I'd assume that "12v compressor cooler" is a fridge. Not one of those thermoelectric coolers. I have a 12v refrigerator and they work well.
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Postby Bling » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:15 am

Oh, good!
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Postby AntiM » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:17 am

teardropper wrote:I'd assume that "12v compressor cooler" is a fridge. Not one of those thermoelectric coolers. I have a 12v refrigerator and they work well.


Yeah, those coolers only drop it below the ambient temperature by what, 40 degrees? Larry keeps one on his truck and they aren't all that great. He salvages them from other drivers when the little fans crap out, fixes them up. Good enough for cool sodas and lunchmeats, but not trustworthy.
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Postby lambert13 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:13 am

AntiM wrote:Use a "dry cooler" such as a small insulated lunchbox. That can go in the top of a cooler, perhaps in a giant plastic bag, just do not let it get wet.

I keep my regular meds in a small insulated lunchbox, wrapped in heavy cloth and kept in the shade. I'm assuming insulin needs more chilling?


Thanks for that tip for other meds. I have been thinking about how I will keep my meds in the acceptable temp range while out there. I just need to figure out a way to lock them up and keep them secure.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:00 am

Bling wrote:Gyre, does that cooler cool to an absolute temp? Most of them do 40 degrees below ambient, so if it's 95 outside, it's 55 in the cooler, which is too warm for safe food storage, and probably insulin.

You're right that all devices of this type including water heaters have a capacity rating.
Even the Z chip fridges can be powerful, they are just more power hungry.

You have a number of things that you can do to help equipment.

The ratings are usually degrees per hour and may include a mass rating too for fridges.
Once they reach a certain temperature, they may continue to lower it depending on insulation and ambient temperature.
Of course, any unit can be stabilized with full water containers inside.
If you go electric, you may want to choose a freezer or tropical unit with more power, and usually less efficiency or space.
I recall 100 degree cooling recovery on some.
Can't find specs now.

My tent last year, with only barely spaced opaque shade, never got hot until after two pm.
I had ice long after I drove home and left the car with cooler in the sun.
So just shade makes a difference.

I would think you could do what you need with ice and dry ice, but you have to make that decision.
You could ask if you can store your supply in the medical area, if they have refrigeration.

My fridge is japanese and hyper efficient, but there are more powerful models out there.
(I didn't take the electric. Not enough space.)
Mine may be an electrolux.

The Danfoss compressors have a great reputation.
I am considering using one of the kits to build a refrigerator just for the electric savings on grid.
If the numbers pay off, I will.
The claim is that they pay for themselves rapidly.

I posted much more on dc portable units on eplaya somewhere.

http://www.bigfrogmountain.com/Engel_Products.html

http://www.engel-usa.com/gallery1.htm

http://www.coolerdirect.com/engel-12v-cooler-6-mnf.htm

http://www.coolerdirect.com/medical-por ... 50-ctg.htm

http://www.coolerdirect.com/12v-freezers-103-ctg.htm

http://www.aroundoz.com/a_clinic_archiv ... ration.htm

http://www.kollmann-marine.com/Danfoss.html

http://www.defender.com/refrigeration.html

http://www.seafrost.com/skuttlebut.htm

http://medicalrefrigeration.com/engel/index.html

http://www.12volt-travel.com/index.php? ... page&id=12

http://www.ozefridge.com.au/Why%20Eutectic.htm

http://www.engelsales.com/

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago102.html

http://fridgefreeze.com/

http://www.sundanzer.com/Home.html

http://www.sunfrost.com/

http://www.sunfrost.com/vaccine_refrigerators.html
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Postby Delight » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:03 pm

Im pretty sure insulin is okay out of the fridge for up to 28days.
I would not let it get hot,but wouldn't worry about the exact temp considering you can keep it at room temp for 28days.
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:47 pm

Anyone had experience keeping insulin cool on the playa? I'm assuming I'll just have to keep it in my cooler, but I always worry about it getting too cold. Anyone have any tricks to share?
Bud


Assuming you don't find what you need I'm wondering if this isn't something that the REMSA/ESD (Emergency Services Dept.) people wouldn't mind storing for you during your time on the playa. I know the whole self-sufficiency spiel but critical meds needing specific temperature bands (anti-virals also come to mind) seem like something that they might consider helping out with.

It wouldn't hurt to email 911@burningman.com to inquire if this is something they can accommodate or as a minumum, offer advice on.
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:01 pm

I don't think so. When you need insulin you need it now, not ten minutes from now. Had a coworker with diabetes. But, I'm no doctor so feel free to disregard my opinion, for it is a lay opinion.

The main site has a writeup on diabetes and the Playa.

http://www.burningman.com/preparation/e ... betic.html
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Postby dinks » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:55 pm

If you have the money, get an engel. I have one that we camp with all the time. I refrigerate anything easily to 42 degrees with it on the low setting. I've actually accidentally frozen 3 days worth of food in it on one trip by turning the dial up to far.

They also dont use that much power, I can go 2 days of being parked in the sun with it running in the back of my truck before I need to start and run the truck to charge it back up. This year I am gonna try a little 15w solar charger to see if I can get an extra day out of the battery.

If an engel is out of the question, make friends with someone with an RV when you get there.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:14 pm

If you're using it fulltime, I suggest getting a serious panel.
Is this a semi?

If so, you particularly need a tough model appropriate for the vehicle.

I'm told that if you shop for what you need, you pretty much get what you pay for, often even better with new models than discount stuff.
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Postby bud buddah » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:21 pm

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I think my original idea of putting the insulin in a small insulated case in my cooler will be the best bet.

Since everyone has been talking about it, I'll tell everyone what I know about insulin and diabetes.

Insulin is fine at 70 degrees for extended periods. But anything over 90 definitely will cook it in about a day. I've done it.

Needing insulin is almost never an emergency. If you have too little insulin, you feel tired. You have days before things get urgent. I once left my insulin behind at an acquaintance's house and could not get in touch with them for 2 days. I was OK, but felt like shit.

Needing sugar is often an emergency. If a diabetic misses a meal or exercises a bunch, they have too much insulin for the amount of food they have eaten. If someone you know is diabetic and acting unusually spacey or belligerent, ask them to drink some juice. Low blood sugar is dangerous. I've had seizures first thing in the morning when my blood sugar got really low while I was asleep. In the short term, low blood sugar is much more dangerous than high blood sugar. Orange juice is very good at bringing up sugar quickly. Sweet tarts are too. Chocolate is lousy because the fat in it slows down absorption. The best thing is glucose tabs from a drugstore.

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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:29 pm

Be sure to tell people around you.

I once had a friend get really bad off and I had no idea what was going on, even when he tried to explain later.

Don't assume people understand it.
Might be worth putting this info on a card?

I've lost at least three friends to diabetes so far.
One was 19.
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