Refreezable gel ice packs are a great way to keep samples cool on their way to the lab. But they can break, creating quite a mess.

Dave Steffen, of the University of Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center, offers these suggestions:

  •   Give the gel ice packs a good hard squeeze to check for leaks.
  • Don’t bend them, because that can lead to leaks.
  • Store flat when re-freezing and shipping.
  • Don’t wrap ice packs in insulating paper when shipping. The paper prevents the coolness from reaching the sample.