Keeping your medications cool when it's hot out
If you rely on medications for survival you know how important it is to keep them safe and working properly. This is especially important when it's hot outside.
If you rely on medications for survival, you know how important it is to keep them safe and working properly. This is especially important when it's hot outside.
When it comes to storing your prescription drugs at home, the one place you shouldn't put them might surprise you.
"The worst place for any medication is in the bathroom medicine cabinet because of high fluctuations between humidity as well as temperature," Dr. Eugene Ryan said. He's a physician at Parkridge Medical Center and has a degree in Pharmacy.
With highs warming to 90 degrees by the weekend, storing your prescriptions in a controlled environment is crucial. Ryan said too much heat breaks down the chemicals in the medications.
"So blood pressure will not control your blood pressure as well. The diabetes medicine--your blood sugar will start to rise up," Ryan explained.
Ryan suggested putting your medications in a drawer or cabinet in your kitchen, but don't keep them on top of the refrigerator or above your stove. The ideal storage temperature is between 40 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prescriptions taken at home aren't the only ones that need to be kept cool. Medications taken on the go like asthma inhalers, EpiPens, and insulin also need to be protected from the heat.
Channel 3 reporter Kate Smith has had diabetes for 15 years. She can't afford to miss a single dose of insulin.
"My blood sugar would go really, really high. I'd become cranky. I'd get sick," Smith said. "In severe cases, I would actually be submitted to the hospital."
She keeps insulin with her all the time but knows from experience that leaving it in her car on hot days is a bad idea.
"The medicine inside the little container becomes very cloudy, or residue will start floating to the top of the bottle," Smith added.
Dr. Ryan said it will become useless as would any other medicine.
"It's just like your regular groceries.You wouldn't go buy a gallon of milk and leave it in the car while you go run errands. No! You want to get it home as quick as you can," Ryan said.
If you're planning a road trip, but don't have good air conditioning in your car, Ryan said to store your medications in a cooler with an ice pack in it. The same rules apply to over-the-counter medications. This also comes in handy at home if the power goes out during a heat wave, especially if you have medications that require refrigeration.