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Touring and Meds that need Refrigeration

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Touring and Meds that need Refrigeration

Old 06-15-19, 04:26 PM
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Touring and Meds that need Refrigeration

So, I am a 55 year old type II diabetic. Pharmacists love me and health insurance companies hate me as I take a shopping list of meds on a daily basis. Two of them require injections and the meds are supposed to remain refrigerated until they are used and then be kept out of extreme temps once opened. How do touring cyclists handle these challenges? Does it preclude unsupported touring? Thanks.
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Old 06-15-19, 05:41 PM
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When I was in Italy I met a young man at a hostel. He was touring solo and unsupported. He required an injection each day that required refrigeration. He used a soft side cooler and cold packs. Can't remember how he got them cold at night. I would assume it meant he stay at hostels and hotels and asked for their kindness to freeze packs at night.
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Old 06-16-19, 01:08 PM
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I have not used this setup, insulated front pannier, for medications, but it works well for perishable food and keeping drinks cold. I fill a couple of heavy duty zip-lock bags with ice and it does a good job of keeping things cold. I think it may work well for your purposes. If you can find your medicines in one-dose ampules, would just keeping them cool be good enough? It is usually not a problem filling the bags with ice at convenience stores of cafes. If you are credit card touring a couple of ice packs can be refrozen in the evening. With a little planning a combination of ice and freezer packs seems like it would work for camping.

The insulation is a $6 sleeping pad from Walmart held together with duct tape. The one pictured has been in use for 12 years. One of my touring front panniers is set up the same way, and goes on every tour.

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Old 06-16-19, 06:31 PM
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I'm not familiar with diabetes meds, but have you discussed options with your doctor to see if there's an option you could use that doesn't require refrigeration? Maybe discuss with the insurance company, too? It might be worth a shot (no pun intended!).
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Old 06-16-19, 07:49 PM
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the insulated container idea is probably the most realistic option--but you would have to be extremely prudent and logical and do some tests with an actual setup, with actual pannier (darker coloured ones get a lot hotter than lighter coloured ones, I know, I have both) and a thermometer to see what temps you are REALLY going to have in a X container in Y temps with Z cold packs etc for a given amount of time in the sun and at 70 or 100 degrees (give or take a abunch more due to sun on pannier surfaces)

and getting reliable , no nonsense info about what temps a given medication is supposed to be kept at--I mean, this is your health, and i wouldnt mess around with "oh this is probably ok" with crucial medication, especially insulin.

hope you can get the right information and be realistic of how a given insulation solution will really really work in real life.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:44 PM
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I have a small, soft sided, “six pack” cooler. Currently only has two beers in it. I think the brand is Polar Bear? I find it’s pretty efficient. Helps if you keep it pretty full. If not, you have to keep it full of ice. When necessary I buy a bag of ice at a grocery store or gas station. More often I just get a cup of ice from anywhere selling fountain drinks. Costs less and wastes less. Still need to add ice daily, but that’s generally not a problem.
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Old 06-17-19, 03:53 AM
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cool pack

Something like that. My son (21) is a type 1 diabetic. We have never had an issue with his insulin as long as it is not in direct sunlight. Something like the above link inside your pannier should do fine. Keep the cooling the gel pack as often as possible don't worry too much. Talk with your Dr and see what the max temperature and how long for your type of med. If you don't mind a little more bulky, most pharmacies get small Styrofoam containers with gel packs in shipments. They will usually give them away free. It would take up about half of a large rear pannier tho. Best bet is talk with the Doc for your particular med and follow his suggestion. It may just be it wont have a long shelf life, in which case you can get smaller doses and have some mailed in cool packs to different places on route.
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Old 06-17-19, 10:34 AM
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I get my Glaucoma Eye drops on cold packs with Blue Ice packets they go UPS from Portland VA pharmacy to my house .

a 2 hour drive , but that won't include the distribution depot time
so the truck probably comes in the night and then, the local guy to my door..

box light but bulky due to thick insulation..

My last tour was in 97, because of that.. none since..

now I live in a place tours go, now.. To, from and through...

help some at LBS, but at 71 Im slowed down..


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Old 06-17-19, 10:43 AM
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A Frio or similar evaporative cooler bag is what we use.
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Old 06-17-19, 11:47 AM
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Touring during the shoulder seasons might be an option. Using insulated cases, it's going to be harder to keep medication at the appropriate storage temperatures when you're cycling in extreme heat all day. In the northern hemisphere, that may mean waiting until September instead of heading out in mid July or August.
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Old 06-17-19, 02:42 PM
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Like Trevtassie I use a Frio evaporative bag. All it needs is water and keeps meds cool in even pretty high heat situations.

I've survived months with just a frio bag and no refridgeration for my insulin. Though can't remember exactly how large an amount I was carrying. I always bought a penfill pack for both levemir and novorapid so five penfills of each. One penfill of 300 units would last me around ten days or less so I'd use them in two months or less.

My insulin survived significant amounts of time in 30+ degrees celsius outside shade temps (a few weeks).

I try to keep the frio bag in a shady protected area on my bike so usually under my rack bag. Can't keep them in a pannier since the evaporation won't work if stored in a place where moisture can accumulate.
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Old 06-21-19, 05:18 PM
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Thank you for the good advice!
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