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Spring Clean Your Diabetes Supplies 

When was the last time you checked the expiration date on your diabetes supplies? Do you have expired test strips, control solution or even medication? Many people have expired lancets or syringes in their stash as well. It’s time to discard any unused expired items from your “stash.”

For expired test strips, you can just throw them in the trash. For unused expired control solution and medications, you can mix them with kitty litter or coffee grounds in a Ziplock bag and put them in the trash. Do not throw the control solution or medication in the trash without mixing them in something undesirable. Do not flush your medications down the toilet. When discarding any empty medication bottles, always remove your name and prescription number, either by scratching if off or covering the information with a permanent marker.

You may be able take your unused/expired medication to a local pharmacy that is part of the take back medication program, this includes unused glucagon kits. Find an authorized drug collection site.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 24, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at participating sites. This is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs at locations in communities throughout the country.   

If you have unopened expired packages of lancets and syringes, you may be able to donate them to a local shelter or animal shelter. The open unused expired lancets, syringes, pen needles or sensors need to be discarded into your sharps container.  If you have full sharps container or you are using a hard plastic container for your used lancets, syringes, pen needles and sensor take them to a safe disposal site near you.  You can find the nearest one here

It may also be time to clean out your cupboard in the kitchen and give away foods that you are no longer eating as you move into a healthier lifestyle. Expired food should be thrown away. Look in your freezer and discard old frozen foods as well. 

As you begin to clean out your bathroom and kitchen of unused expired items, it is a great time to reflect on how your diabetes is going and how you can improve your diabetes management.  Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are you throwing away 100 test strips because you haven’t checked your glucose level for a while? It may be time to start checking again to learn what range your blood glucose levels are. Are you in target range, or are you above your target range? When was the last time you really checked your glucose level? Have you done controls on your meter and strips? It may be time to get back into a healthy routine for managing your diabetes.
  • Do you need to be seen by the dietitian because your meal plan needs adjustments? Have your portion sizes grown? Have you fallen back into bad habits of eating unhealthy foods?  
  • Have you been ordering takeout more since you are not able to go out and it is convenient? Have you been working longer hours and don’t “have the time” to prepare healthier meals? The past year has been hard on many people. Working from home with the pantry right there to reward you with snacks could be an issue that you haven’t had in the past.
  • What are you doing for exercise (activity) every day? Are you getting up and taking 30 steps to your computer because you are working from home? Are you getting out for walks several times a week, or are you doing 12-hour days because you can and it gives you something to do?
  • Have you been in for a refresher on your diabetes management plan? When was the last time you saw your primary care provider (PCP), dentist or eye doctor? How about your diabetes educator? Have you put off some or all of your routine care because of COVID-19? It is probably time to see your PCP and catch up on your health. Get your labs checked as directed by you PCP, talk to him/her about getting back into diabetes education/nutrition.  

Diabetes Education Services and Outpatient Nutrition at Overlake are here to help you manage your diabetes and help you meet your health goals for 2021. 

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