Hello Winter my old friend!

It’s now officially winter here, and I’ve quickly noticed something which I forget about every year. BG meters don’t like to be cold!


I remember decades ago (before we had CGM) on a week-long hike in Tasmania getting to the cabin at the end of the day, cold and bedraggled. Got into warm clothes, and went to test my BG. But my Esprit meter suddenly refused to give me readings! I had to just stuff my face with biscuits anyway and test later…

If I’m outside in the cold I do need to not leave my meter in an outside pocket where it will be too cold to use. When working in places like the Himalayas, Antarctica, etc I make sure my meter is in an inside pocket so that if I get it out to use it there will be enough warmth for it to do its job. This has worked even when the ambient temperature is -25˚C.

A more mundane situation

But that’s not what’s affected me this week at home in Melbourne. It’s time to keep a BG meter under my pillow again!

We turn our house heating off at night (under the bedclothes it’s usually nice and warm). But anything on the bedside table will get quite cold.

When I need to calibrate my CGM with a fingerprick blood test, it’s very annoying if the meter refuses to work. Especially if I think I might be hypo. I have to treat the apparent hypo ASAP, and clean up any BG high later if I wasn’t actually low. At those points I do bring the meter and strips under the covers with me to warm up and test later.

But it’s not really convenient to have a pile of meter/strips/etc in bed with me all the time. So the compromise I’ve found is to have the meter under my pillow. It won’t be quite as warm as the rest of the bed, but it will be warm enough that the meter will work when I need it!

1 thought on “Hello Winter my old friend!”

  1. Interesting. We haven’t had a problem with this despite living in Tassie and not heating most of our house. We also had no problem camping in the snow at the Walls of Jerusalem last year, despite being in a summer-weight tent with mesh inner walls. There was frost on the outside of our sleeping bags, so it was certainly below zero overnight, and the meter was in a pocket in the tent wall. Using Contour Next meters FWIW.
    My son did experience a low temperature shutdown on his pump while night-skiing in Niseko, he hadn’t tucked it back under his clothing and it was -12 out. It’s likely the insulin in his line froze as well, as he went high again hours later in the night.

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