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Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal

Controlling temperature


When product labels say “protect from moisture,” store the product in a space with no more than 60% relative humidity. To reduce the effects of humidity consider-

Ventilation: Open the windows or air vents of the storeroom to allow air circulation. Ensure all windows have screens to keep out insects and birds, and either have bars or are not open wide enough for anyone to climb in. Put boxes on pallets and ensure there is space between pallets and the walls of the storeroom.

Packaging: Secure all lids. Never open a new container unless necessary.

Circulation: Use a fan to circulate fresh (outside) air. In bigger storerooms you may need a ceiling fan. Standing fans are more useful in smaller storerooms. This requires electricity and some maintenance.

Air conditioners: If possible, use an air conditioner. This is costly, depends on a constant supply of electricity, and requires regular maintenance. Depending on climatic conditions, a dehumidifier may be a less costly option. However, they also need a constant supply of electricity and require regular attention to empty the water containers.


Some health products are photosensitive and will be damaged if exposed to light. These include multiple vitamins, furosemide, chloropheniramine maleate, hydrocortisone, latex products (such as male condoms), and x-ray film.

To protect products from sunlight-

 Shade the windows or use curtains, if they are in direct sunlight.

 Keep products in cartons.

 Do not store or pack products in sunlight.

 Use opaque plastic or dark glass bottles for products that require them.

 Maintain trees on the premises around the facility to help provide shade, but check them regularly to ensure that there aren’t any branches that can damage the facilities.


Remember that heat will affect many products. It melts ointments and creams and causes other products to become useless. Following the guidelines listed earlier for protecting products from humidity and sunlight will also help protect products from heat.

It is important to have thermometers in various parts of the storeroom to monitor temperature (see section on monitoring temperature). But, even if you do not have thermometers, you can still monitor the heat. If you feel hot, your products are probably hot, too.

Store frozen: Some products, such as certain vaccines, need to be transported within a cold chain and stored at -20°C (4°F). Frozen storage is normally for longer-term storage at higher-level facilities.

Store at 2°-8°C (36°-46°F): Some products are very heat sensitive but must not be frozen. These are usually kept in the first and second part of the refrigerator (never the freezer). This temperature is appropriate for storing vaccines for a short period of time.

Keep cool: Store between 8°-15°C (45°-59°F).

Store at room temperature: Store at 15°-25°C (59°-77°F).

Store at ambient temperature: Store at the surrounding temperature. This term is not widely used due to significant variation in ambient temperatures. It means “room temperature” or normal storage conditions, which means storage in a dry, clean, well ventilated area at room temperatures between 15° to 25°C (59°-77°F) or up to 30°C, depending on climatic conditions.

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