Let me introduce you to my newest favorite diabetes product. This, my friends, is a Frio.
So, it's not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. The Frio is a reusable cooler to keep your insulin cool when you can't keep it in the refrigerator. Basically, it's two fabric envelopes. The one on the left is what actually keeps your insulin cool. You soak that envelope in cool water for a specified amount of time, and these crystal things which are sewn into the lining of it turn into a gel that expands, and that gel is cool and cools your insulin. The envelope actually ends up looking like one of those puffy Marty-McFly-from-Back-to-the-Future-vests once the crystals all expand. Your insulin goes inside the puffy envelop, and that goes inside envelope on the right which, according to the Frio Website somehow increases the "efficiency" of the cooling envelope. The outer envelope also works to keep the rest of your stuff dry, since the inside envelope is a little damp at first, but quickly dries off to the touch.
So, that's how it works, in VERY layman's terms.
Frios come in a variety of sizes and colors. The one pictured above is the largest size, the "Extra Large Wallet," which is approximately 8.5" by 6.5".
I have used my Frio in several different situations when I bought it a year ago, and I have been VERY impressed with it so far. I've used it on a vacation to D.C. when there was no refrigerator in our hotel room to store my insulin in. I've used it on an extended trip to the in-laws when I didn't want to store my insulin in their fridge, and I've used it during a multiple-day electricity blackout after a storm.
Here are the things I like about it:
- It stays cool FOREVER! Ok, not really forever, but the last time I used it, it was cool for about two weeks. Now, the company says to re-soak it sooner than that, but they say it will keep your insulin cool for a minimum of 45 hours with just one soaking. I have definitely experienced that when using the Frio.
- It's relatively inexpensive. I spent a little over $30.00 on mine (which is the largest size you can get). That might seem expensive, but it is indefinitely reusable! So, I think it's a pretty decent price, especially for something that is being sold to such a niche market. I'm used to diabetes specialty things costing a lot and this price isn't so bad.
Some things I don't like about it:
- It's not big enough. I think this product was designed for a traveler, but I want a Frio that is big enough to fit a 3-months supply of insulin in. So, basically I want a Frio designed to store a large stash of insulin in an emergency situation. Because of how insurance works, a lot of diabetics tend to buy insulin in 90 day supplies. If, for example, we lost power for several days and I had just refilled a 90 day supply of insulin, I would want a Frio large enough to save that whole supply. I guess I could just buy several of them, but that seems annoying and expensive.
- It keeps insulin cool, not cold. This isn't really a negative for me, but it might be for some people, so I thought I better write about it. The Frio definitely does not keep your insulin as cold as a fridge would, but it keeps it cool enough for it to not lose its efficacy. So, it might seem scary if it doesn't feel as cold to you as when you pull it out of your fridge, but it is still just fine. I've read some reviews on Amazon of people not having success with this product, and having their insulin ruined. This has not been my experience at all, but I wanted to make sure all sides were represented. Just like any product that is not "FDA" approved to do whatever it is claiming to do, you use it at your own risk. So I think it's only fair to say that not everyone likes this product.
That being said, I have personally found great success with my Frio. It's easy to use, and I think that it's something that would be useful to virtually every insulin-dependent diabetic. I was so grateful I had one during our extended power outage! Our power went out after a storm for about 3 days during the hottest week of the summer, when temperatures outside hit 104 F, and reached the high 90s in our house! My insulin would've perished had it not been for the Frio.
So, I just wanted to add my two cents to the consumer information available "out there" about Frios. I hope someone can find this useful!