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Dexcom and water

Discussion in 'Continuous Glucose Sensing' started by swellman, May 24, 2010.

  1. swellman

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    So, the pool opened last weekend and we just HAD to go. That was the first time with the new Dexcom and swimming. I *thought* it was waterproof, like the OmniPod, so we let him jump in - with the transmitter not the receiver.

    After about an hour and a half we left the pool and the receiver was ??? for quite some time. I called Dexcom and they said that the limit was 15 minutes in water. I was "Whaaaaaaaa?". She was "Yup". I was like "But at Atlantis we only spend 15 minute OUT of the water." She said that moisture between the contacts of the sensor and the transmitter can get whacked out - which makes some sense I guess.

    So ... pool season ... what do you guys do?

    I have some Tegaderm strips that I used to cover his OmniPod so they are PLENTY big enough for the Dexcom but, for some reason, they came off after 1 pool session - maybe they're old or maybe his skin chemistry has changed. I am going to need something that will stay on longer than one day or the pool is going to be a source of great frustration - not that that would matter.
     
  2. selketine

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    So was the transmitter broken or just the pool time messed up the sensor?
     
  3. hawkeyegirl

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    I've not heard of this problem with any of the CGMs before. I know they're only rated for 15-30 minutes in the water, but the vast majority of people swim with them on for hours at a time with no issues. I'm wondering if a different transmitter would solve your issue.

    We use Opsite tape over our (Medtronic) sensors, but I'm not sure it keeps it 100% dry under there. I don't know what would.
     
  4. sarahspins

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    I started a thread on TuD about this a while back.. I have HEARD that it was rated as "waterproof" for 3 feet at 30 minutes.. but I am surprised they told you only 15 minutes. My husband takes SHOWERS longer than that. I usually restart my sensors for at least a second session, sometimes a third, and my last one failed right at the end of the 3rd session, right after taking a shower.. I could see condensation inside the sensor housing, UNDER where the transmitter connects (so it was inside on the sensor side, not between the sensor and transmitter). It did recover eventually after the water drops went away, but it remained unreliable and prone to lots of ???

    My personal theory is that as soon as water gets inside there, the sensor is basically shot. It may also help explain some sensors earlier on with my Dex usage that "went bad" for no good reason at all.. giving me lots of ???. I try to limit showers to only long enough to wash my hair now.. if I need to shave my legs, I'll take a bath, avoiding getting my sensor wet (not hard, since it's on my arm). That seems to work "fairly" well.

    A piece of flexifix over the whole thing may work... I find it way sticker than tegaderm, but I'd be concerned about too much sweat/moisture getting trapped under there anyways.. it would in my mind still be "wet" just not from the pool. My experience is that it doesn't breath nearly as well as other MVP tapes do, so all that sweat just gets trapped. Maybe it would work with some sort of absorbent material (and why is it that a cut up pantiliner is the first thing that comes to mind?) over the sensor pad itself, and the tape on top of that. I don't know. Our "pool" isn't open until next weekend, and the one I take the kids to is just a splash pool, so I'd have to work to get wet, but since this sensor will be towards the end of it's useful life anyways, I'll risk it :)
     
  5. Diana

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    Hmm. Well, I knew it could happen, but it never has happened to us. And I guess I assumed that it just messed up the sensor readings (which would recover once everything dried out) and did not really hurt the transmitter. Is Dexcom saying that it actually messed up the transmitter?
     
  6. chbarnes

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    We've had a couple fall off - usually after having been on for several days, but we haven't had one malfunction. The ???s can come on for pretty random reasons anyway.

    Chuck
     
  7. MyAngelEmma

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    Emma swims on the swim team year round. She's had the Dexcom system since November and is in the pool for an hour to an hour and a half each practice 3-4 days a week. Sometimes we use tegaderm just around the tape (not covering the sensor/transmitter) and sometimes we don't. We have yet to lose a Dex site. I keep the receiver with me while she is in the pool and give it back to her when in the car on the way home. We always get readings with in 5 minutes of it being back in range. Never had an issue with the sensor not working after being in the pool. The readings we get after pool time are just as accurate as before, too.
     
  8. swellman

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    Sorry I wasn't clear. After a few hours the sensor came back.

    Hopefully it was a random thing. We've been back with Tegaderm and had no issues. I was looking for hope that the entire summer wasn't going to be like that.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  9. chbarnes

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    The only thing that is consistant about ??? in our experience is it happens when you need the numbers the most.

    Chuck
     
  10. Melissata

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    I don't understand how they can tell you 15 minutes when the user's guide says 30 minutes at a depth of 3 feet. It even mentions water resistance to jetting water also. It is in the specs on page 123. I know that is still not a lot of time, but why is customer service telling you something different is what I would want to know? I assumed that it was like the pumps and that they are actually good for much longer if not at that depth.
     
  11. swellman

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    It's very possible I am mis-rembering the 15 minutes. I distinctly remember it was less than an hour. It could have been 30 but it might as well have been 2 when considering swimming - it just wasn't long enough.
     
  12. selketine

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    I'm just glad it didn't damage the transmitter - not that it should have.

    William has been in the pool for hours with the Nav and no problems - other than just trying to keep the stupid tape stuck.:rolleyes:
     
  13. swellman

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    I had a flash forward of me going to a life guard and having them clear out the pool to look for a lost $800 transmitter. I'm starting to wish they made them fluorescent yellow.
     
  14. swellman

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    This just occurred to me - if/when the sensor/transmitter comes of in water does it float or sink?
     
  15. joy orz

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    Ava swims with it all the time with no problem.

    She also loves to spend a good hour in the tub if I let her.

    BUT it will sink and be gone forever if it gets lost.

    Her last sensor fell out in the pool and DH was able to catch it, but when it comes off in the tub it sinks.

    I wouldn't recommend swimming in a lake or ocean with it.
     
  16. swellman

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    This is exactly one reason I asked. The other was where to look in the pool when it goes missing.
     

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