- Buyer's Guide
World Diabetes Day :: Insulin Carry
World Diabetes Day occurs annually on 14 November and is an opportunity to increase awareness of diabetes around the world through numerous campaigns, lectures, screenings and other events. However, for people with diabetes, managing the condition is a year-round, daily event – an event in which carry plays an important part. Those who need to inject insulin require a variety of items to be close at hand at any given part of the day. These can include items such as insulin pens, a blood glucose level meter, hypodermic needles, insulin cartridges or vials, alcohol/cleaning wipes, blister packs of medication tablets and glucose tablets, a diabetes ID card, as well as a diary and pen (for keeping easily accessible records of blood test results and eating habits) to name a few.
However, finding a convenient means of carrying such items isn’t always simple, so we wanted to highlight some options that could go a long way to helping people manage diabetes more easily. We’ll be focusing on carry options for insulin supplies such as those above, rather than insulin pump pouches which hold insulin pumps that are attached to the body.
Why good insulin carry is needed
There are several reasons why it’s important to have good insulin carry. One of the primary reasons is the ability to keep insulin supplies in close proximity and organised. Insulin supplies need to be readily available whether you’re on the go or at home and having them all in an easily-accessible location makes life much simpler. There’s no wasting time finding them, plus it allows for greater flexibility of movement – you can get on with daily life without worrying that you don’t have everything you need with you. A good piece of insulin carry is also handy for keeping your supplies in one place for security checks at airports and for storing them conveniently in hand luggage.
Another important function that insulin carry can serve is to keep insulin at suitable temperatures to avoid it deactivating. Though the specific guidelines for storing insulin as stated by the manufacturer should always be followed, in general in-use insulin (either within an opened vial or within a cartridge in an insulin pen) is fine at room temperatures (around 15-25 degrees Celsius) for about 28 days. Keeping insulin supplies in a piece of carry in your hand luggage will avoid the risk of it freezing in the cargo hold, while using insulin carry that incorporates cooling features will help to protect insulin against excessive heat (this is particularly relevant for hot climates, long and hot car journeys, etc.).
Qualities to look for in good insulin carry
A variety of factors should be considered when choosing a piece of insulin carry. Firstly, consider its size. It needs to be small enough to be conveniently carried around but big enough to store all the specific supplies required. The carry should be lightweight and compact while also being durable enough to withstand frequent use. Ideally it should include some form of organization that will assist with keeping supplies easily accessible.
If you know you’ll be carrying your insulin in hot temperatures, opt for carry that is designed to keep insulin at appropriate temperatures. While the practical aspects of insulin carry are important, aesthetics shouldn’t be overlooked either. Make sure you choose something that you’d be happy to look at and use on a daily basis. Perhaps you want something fun and colourful or alternatively maybe something sleek and elegant that wouldn’t look out of place in business or travel environments. There are several different formats available so you can choose one that suits your personal preferences.
Specific insulin carry brands
FRÍO wallets are a good option for insulin users who want to keep their in-use insulin cool in hot temperatures. The wallets utilise an evaporation process for cooling and are activated by soaking them in cold water for around five to ten minutes. Crystals in the wallet panels absorb the water and turn into a gel which will stay cool for at least 45 hours, keeping the insulin at suitable temperatures to avoid deactivation. The reusable wallets can be dried with a paper towel after being soaked and will remain dry to the touch, so they can be carried in bags without worrying about the other bag contents getting wet. FRÍO offers a range of wallets to accommodate various items such as insulin pens, cartridges, vials, InnoLet® dosers and more.
Desang provides a choice of different kitbags to accommodate different carry needs. The Slim holds a blood testing kit as well as an insulin pen, some spare needles and cartridges, plus a pen and a diary. The plastic version of the Slim has a transparent window on the front which could serve as a fun way for kids to personalise their case through the likes of pictures of their favourite animals, cartoon characters, musicians and movie stars, etc.
The Classic holds enough for an overnight or weekend trip, accommodating a blood testing kit, two insulin pens, a pen and diary and some spare needles and cartridges, with some extra space available for other items you may need. The Roll-Up kitbag is designed for longer trips and holds everything the Classic does, with further space for items such as insulin bottles, syringes, a pill carrier and hand-cleaning supplies. The Pen Pack is aimed at people who use two types of insulin daily. It holds two insulin pens, spare needles and a couple of insulin cartridges. The Bottle Bank is a feasible option for people who need to carry insulin bottles, either to use with syringes or pumps.
Diabete-ezy offers two cases to assist insulin users, the Ezy-fit Case as well as the Multi-fit Case. The Ezy-fit Case provides organization for daily insulin supplies and accommodates most blood glucose level meters. The Multi-fit Case is suitable for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and holds everything that the Ezy-fit Case does, while providing extra space for further items such as a GlucaGen HypoKit and food.
Medicool provides a range of insulin carry cases to suit different user needs. Some of the cases include cooling features, such as the Insulin Protector Case which keeps insulin cool for up to 12 hours via a reusable cooler pack. Non-cooling carry options include items such as the DI case that looks like a sunglasses cases and provides a discreet way to carry insulin vials and syringes, while their Dia-Pak range of cases provides organisation for a day up to a couple of weeks depending on the size and they can be used with cold gel packs to keep the contents cool if required.
Potential non-specific insulin carry options
While there are a number of brands who provide carry specifically designed for insulin supplies, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with non-specific carry options. Items such as stationery cases, makeup cases, lunch boxes, fishing tackle boxes and sunglasses cases are just some of the options that are available for creating your own insulin carry. By combining these with small cooler packs you can also keep your insulin at suitable temperatures if required.
Got a favourite piece of insulin carry or an awesome hack? We’d love to get your own insights and suggestions on practical and convenient ways to carry insulin supplies, so please share your thoughts in the comments below to help others benefit from your carry knowledge!