It’s no secret that vaccines and medicines are highly important in treating disease. Vaccines have saved countless lives. The number of measles-related deaths decreased by 79% between 2000 and 2014, from 546,800 to 114,900 — and that’s just one example of a disease that’s being eradicated thanks to modern medicine. Clearly, this life-saving form of inoculation is essential.
However, making sure that medicines and vaccines are properly stored is just as important. When not stored properly in a pharmacy freezer, vaccines can be less effective or even go bad, preventing them from functioning correctly in the human body. Here are a few tips for maintaining, cleaning, and using your pharmacy freezer or other medical refrigerators and freezers to ensure that your medications are safe and effective.
- Check your temperature settings: Different medications require different temperatures for correct storage. Frozen medications should be stored in a medical freezer at five degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and refrigerated medications should be stored in a pharmaceutical refrigerator between 35 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Maintain original packaging: In the case of lost documentation, it is still important to be able to find the correct information for storing medications. Keep all original packaging for medications, as they should have the best methods for storing each listed on the label.
- Log temperatures regularly: It is important to make sure that your pharmacy freezer is keeping the same, consistent temperature throughout the day and over long stretches of time. Manually or digitally track the temperature of your pharmacy freezer to avoid any accidental temperature adjustments that could damage the medications inside.
- Keep other items out: While it can be tempting to save space by storing other non-medical items in your pharmacy freezer or refrigerator, avoid this practice whenever possible. Overcrowding in the freezer can affect the temperature, and could potentially contaminate the medications inside. There are often laws against this practice, as well.
Proper use and maintenance of your pharmacy freezer, as well as regularly checking it to ensure it’s operating as intended, can ensure that all medications and vaccines being stored in the pharmacy freezer are safe to use and are at their most effective. Vaccines are an important life-saving type of medication, and storing them properly is essential to keeping patients everywhere safe.