We’re used to reading storage instructions on our food and we know that some things should be kept in the fridge, but do we take so much care with our medicines?
Some medication states that it should be kept refrigerated, and that generally means at 2 to 8°C. A regular domestic fridge might not always be up to the job, however. With the door being regularly opened and closed, the temperature could rise or at least fluctuate, and there are also seasonal external temperature variations. Encourage the family to keep the fridge door closed as much as possible if it is being used to store medicine.
There are unofficial zones in the fridge that see temperature variations; the door is warmer than other parts of the fridge, for example, and that should influence where medication is kept. When the medication is critical – such as insulin or hormones – getting the temperature wrong could be dangerous and cause the medicine to lose its effectiveness.
Store Medication in the Middle
While the butter compartment might seem like a handy place, it’s often too warm with too much fluctuation. The centre of the fridge is a much better idea because it is more consistent and colder overall. Air can circulate all the way round it, which means it is less likely to freeze. Freezing could occur if the box is shoved to the back of the fridge.
You should keep your medicine in its original box, and consider putting that box inside an airtight container in the fridge. This might help maintain a more consistent temperature while the cooling cycles are at work.
For more information on how to store you medication, see the tips from Safe Medication.
Perhaps you have a second fridge, perhaps dedicated to drinks. If it’s not used as regularly, that’s the one to store medicine in because if the door is opened less frequently, the temperature will fluctuate less. If your circumstances require it, there is medical refrigeration available from specialist retailers like Fridge Freezer Direct https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/medical-refrigeration.
The next time you have medication, consider carefully where you will store it, even if it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Many of us have a cabinet in the bathroom, which is often the worst place because of the changes in temperature and moisture.a