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University Toolkit: Insulin storage and supplies

Learn how to store your insulin supplies and use our helpful checklist to prepare your kit for leaving for uni.
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.10.2023

A young male student with type 1 diabetes, wearing a mustard-coloured polo shirt and round glasses, using an insulin pen to administer insulin into his arm.

Insulin supplies should be stored in a fridge between 2°C and 8°C. Remember that most universities will be able to supply you with a mini-fridge for your room.

If you have to share a fridge with others, keep your insulin in a ziploc bag to protect it from the inevitable mess of the fridge! Tell your neighbours about your condition and your need to keep your medication cool. They are more likely to help keep it safe if they understand.

Type 1 diabetes supplies

With everything else going on at university it can be difficult to stop and think about what supplies you need (and even easier to forget entirely). Perhaps try setting an alarm or making a note on your calendar to check your supplies and order your prescription once a month. Be aware that your new practice may have a different system for ordering than you were used to. Speak to your GP about whether they have electronic prescribing, as this can make ordering prescriptions between home and university easier.

Check out local procedures for disposing of medical sharps. Your pharmacy or halls of residence may be able to supply you with a waste container.

Type 1 diabetes supplies checklist

This would also serve as a good packing list for when you leave for university.

Meters and pens

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Insulin pens
  • Blood ketone meter

Prescription items

  • Test strips – blood glucose and ketones
  • Insulin (short-acting)
  • Insulin (long-acting, if required)
  • Ketostix (if required)
  • Lancets (for lancing device)
  • Needles for insulin pens
  • Sharps box
  • Glucagon injection for emergencies

General items

  • Snacks for hypos
  • Fast acting sugar
  • Plasters
  • Letter from your healthcare professional if you’re planning to fly
  • Identification that says you have diabetes
  • Emergency phone numbers for your diabetes care team and pump line number. Programme them into your phone

Pump care items (if applicable)

  • Cannula
  • Infusion sets
  • Cartridge systems
  • Contact number of your pump company

Discuss with your diabetes specialist team in advance for continuing funding arrangement for pump care items.


  • Blood glucose meter and testing strips
  • Insulin pen and insulin (quick acting and long acting)
  • Blood ketone meter (if you have one)
  • Batteries for various meters and insulin pump

Specific to starting university

  • Medical exemption card (not required in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Copies of old prescription

Please note this is a general list, it may not include all the items you need. Please consult with your healthcare team for further guidance.

In partnership with:

Diabetes UK, NHS England and NHS Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals partner logos