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Keeping Emergency Medication Protected When Outside

It is hot here! It was close to 100F!  Yikes! It's usually not that hit here and when it is, I hide in my house LOL

But when it's a bit cooler, we try to do outdoor activities. I'm finding it a challenge to keep my inhaler protected from heat and water. I want it readily available, so I usually put it in an outer pocket of my backpack or whatever bag. Of course that means it getting sun/heat. 

I need to find beach/water solutions too. Today I had it in a dry bag clipped to my paddle board, but it was in direct sun! 

Anyone have tips on how they protect their meds? 

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  • Pljohns

    Have any of you tried wrapping it on a Breo?  I don't have one because it won't keep my meds as cool as they need to be kept (36-42) but for inhalers, I've heard others say they work great!    From what I understand you get them wet and somehow that starts a chemical reaction with the material and it keeps things cool.  It might be an option for the correct temp (I know it will keep an epi pen for like 8 hours).  For the wet part-maybe a very small dry bag??

    me-I'm stuck with all sorts of junk just to keep mine at the correct temp.  The only thing I have with me all the time is liquid albuterol for my neb and I don't worry about it much.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, are you talking about ? The evaporative cooling pack that diabetics use to take along their insulin? 

    Kathy P, kudos on you a) remembering to take your meds along and b) knowing they need to be protected! 

    Have you called the companies that make your meds and asked them? The reason I ask is that I got lots of good tips from Kaleo about how to keep DD's Auvi-Q's safe outdoors by talking with their pharmacist on staff. 

    This applies only to Auvi-Q, of course, but other companies may be able to tell you how they keep their temps safe while shipping.

    This is what their pharmacist said:

    • Keep the auto-injectors within 59-86 degrees.
    • If you go out and about, you can invest in an el-cheapo foil lined lunch sack and keep them inside of it — out of direct sunlight and on all but the hottest days, they will be within the temp tolerance.
    • If you want some extra insurance, you can re-use the gel pack that comes with the delivered Auvi-Qs and insert it into the lunch sack. It doesn't have to be cooled — it will absorb the excess heat and keep the devices within the tolerance window.
    • If you've tossed the gel pack, you can buy one of those re-heatable/freezable gel packs from Wal-Mart or a pharmacy — you don't have to cool it or heat it or do anything but stick it in with the Auvi-Qs. 

    I had an old foil-lined re-usable grocery bag that has seen better days. I took the liner material and trimmed it to fit.

    It wraps around everything — inhaler, Auvi-Qs, etc. — and then that tucks into a zip compartment within her purse or in a tote in a backpack. Anytime she goes into the water, we stick the whole little tote into a gallon zip top bag. I've also heard of people using an insulated water bottle with a caribiner clip as well. They just clip it to their kayak or some part of their clothes.

    Another idea: what about a ? Here's a link to a page that has some reviews of various kinds.

  • K8sMom2002

    I've heard good things about it! Bummer that your meds have to be kept cooler. How do you manage that?

  • Pljohns

    I have a polar bear soft side ice chest (6 pack size) and polar bear sells a "blue bullet" specifically for medication.  You keep it refrigerated and it is like a double sided cup thing with a lid that freezes the liquid in between the 2 walls of the cup.  Put your meds in it, wrap it in a gel ice pack and stuff it in the cooler.  I've got a wireless thermometer that I put in the blue bullet too so I can monitor the temp from my phone. It kept it in range all the way to San Diego without any problems.

  • Kathy P

     Anytime she goes into the water, we stick the whole little tote into a gallon zip top bag.

    I have had issues with ziplocks if there is any chance it will actually go into the water. I've had too many times using them in a cooler where water got in. That's why I use dry bags that are labeled as being water proof.

    I have a dry box with rubber seal that I used to use, it just was not big enough for my current inhaler. I looked at the larger one, but then I decided on the flexibility of the bag instead. I got the lightweight ones that aren't rated for being submerged. That's why I clipped it to the board rather than me since I knew I'd be submerged Though with a PFD on, I wasn't going deep enough for pressure changes which is the real issue with submersion. You would potentially have the same issue w/ Camelbak bottle since there is no rubber seal – water could seep with sufficient pressure change if you submerged it deep enough. I did get a locking (though not climb rated) carabiner which made me fell it was more secure than just the typical spring latch ones.

    Lynn – that sounds like you've found a great solution for your meds!

  • K8sMom2002

    Ooh, Lynn, gotta check out the blue bullet! Thanks! I'd never heard of that before.

    Kathy, do you have a link to a dry bag or dry box that would be waterproof and come with a clip of some sort? Especially one that would be small enough to take hiking or to the beach? 

  • Kathy P

    These are the dry bags I use – they also have fully welded ones that can be submerged.

     cases are great! I also have which is what my inhaler no longer fits in.

  • tlb2002

    We have a Frio for my son's epis and inhaler. It's great. I would recommend it in a lot of situations, but I don't think it would work in a situation where you would need to keep it airtight to keep it from getting wet. 

    It works through evaporation. So it needs air flow to stay cool. And since it's water activated, if it is exposed to too much water, it would expand to the point where it doesn't work and you have to let it dry out completely before soaking it again (been there, done that). But I think it's definitely worth considering if you don't need to protect your meds from water too.

    So, @K8sMom2002, the first aid gel packs really absorb heat, even at room temp? I haven't heard that before. That's awesome. I have a couple of those in my freezer. They may work when I've forgotten to resoak the Frio. 

  • Kathy P

    Oh good point about the Frio being evaporative cooling. Yeah, that Propeller wouldn't work all that well in an airtight container. 

    I did save the gel pack from from the AuviQ we got. It was not cold in the package when it arrived. But there was a not about it being there for temp control. I wonder if it was just chilled and not frozen to start carrying room temp. I wouldn't want any condensation to build up inside the waterproof bag. Ugh, this is complicated! Going to have to do some experiments! Or maybe I double bag it. 

  • K8sMom2002

    @tlb2002, that's what the pharmacist with Kaleo/Auvi Q said. I asked him how they managed to ship the Auvi Q via UPS/Fed Ex (can't remember how they sent it), and if it would be in some sort of cooler box.

    I asked if the temp range for Auvi Q was different from other epinephrine auto-injectors. He said no.

    That's when he told me how they packed it, and he shared his recommendation.

    He told me that we did NOT have to chill or freeze the gel pack before using it again, and that if we accidentally threw it away, any freeze/heat sports pack would work the same way.

    He actually told me NOT to chill the pack because it would expose the auto-injectors to an unsafe temp.

    I'd never heard this use of gel packs, either, but I'm assuming that the company would need to make sure their shipping procedures would have to keep meds safe.

    Good point about the Frio needing air flow to work. Do they FEEL wet? I've wondered about that. Can you store them in a purse/backpack or do you need to have them exposed to air?

     And thanks, Kathy, for the links for the dry box/bags. I'm definitely going to check those out! 

  • tlb2002

    @K8sMom2002, yes, they can feel damp. The instructions tell you to let the wallet sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the water. It still feels slightly damp but it's not bad. It is damp enough to affect a paper label or something like that though.

    The website said you can put them in a purse or bag, just not in an airtight container. To be safe, I put ours in an outside pocket on our backpack. My son is carrying it in a thin nylon drawstring bag for band camp, so I think that should work okay. 

    Overall, I've been really pleased with it. I will probably buy a second one as backup.

    FWIW, the large wallet will fit 2 Epi-Pens in their cases OR 4 Epi-pens not in cases OR 2 Auvi-Qs and an inhaler. With all of these configurations, there is room to slide in a couple of blister packs a Benadryl fastmelts.

  • Pljohns

    thanks for the info on the Freo-I've looked at them for my epi pen but haven't purchased one.  It stays in my purse now and I admit, I terrible about not taking it with me when I go out.  If I don't have my bag, I'll grab my neb but I forget about the epi pen (never had to use it so it's easy to forget).

  • Jen

    Lynn – Would it help to keep the epinephrine in the same bag as the nebs?

  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks, @tlb2002! 

    Lynn, what would make it easier to remember your epinephrine auto-injector? 

  • Pljohns

    I guess since I've never had to use it, it's easy to forget.  It's always in my purse and I know when I need it, I won't have it and then I will never ever forget it again, but I really don't want to be in that spot.  The neb in my purse is about the size of a sunglass case so there is no room to add it there and that's usually all I grab when I head out if I don't need my purse.  I really need to figure something out.

  • K8sMom2002

    How about a big piece of elastic band that would keep the neb and the auto-injectors together? Or a piece of heavy duty velcro that would attach the two? 

  • Kathy P

    What about a that would hold both and you can grab and carry?

    This holds a set of auto-injectors plus spacer/inhaler, but it sounds like your portable neb is pretty small.

  • Pljohns

    It is-and I like that but I don't think that would fit in my purse-and anything bigger for a purse and it will qualify for carry on luggage-I don't have much else in my purse-wallet, very small makeup bag, very small bag with emergency meds (migraine meds and toradol/syring and needles), my neb, check book and my gun.  The epi pen is in a pocket for pens.

  • K8sMom2002

    Any way you could combine the emergency meds bag with a bag like that? So that all of it is in one grab-n-go bag?

    And I hear you about the size of purses! 

  • Jen

    We're leaving tomorrow to go camping for a week.  I need to remember to keep an eye on dd1 to be sure she keeps her epinephrine in the tent and/or seeks out shade most of the time.  We also have a soft sided cooler we can use for extended outings in the sun.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Do you have a small foil-lined lunch bag that could serve as an insulator, Jen? She could wrap that around her auto-injectors and tuck it in a backpack. 

    Have fun camping!

  • Jen

    She spent most of her time in the shade, except for short stints when she was walking from our campsite to other activities on the campground (held under tents/pavilions). It also helped that much of the time, the weather was in the upper 70s/low 80s.  

  • Jen

    We're still dealing with summer weather here, but figured I'd plan ahead a little.

    How do you keep your emergency medication protected from the cold?

  • Pljohns

    I generally put it in my purse and  carry it with me.  I need to check the temp that levabuteral needs to be kept at and I never thought about the epi pen (I've never had to use it so i forget about it) and need to find something to keep them in as well as my toradol injections.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Over on the Kids With Food Allergies division of AAFA, they have a blog post about . That may help you!

  • Jen

    Now that the weather is starting to get colder, how will you keep your emergency meds protected?