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Taping the Dexcom G4

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Darryl, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Darryl

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    We figured out a way to tape the Dexcom G4 down to make it last a long time. I don't know if this would work for everyone but here's how we do it. Thanks to the person who told me about Flexifix (http://www.amazon.com/Smith-Nephew-OpSite-Flexifix-Transparent/dp/B000PQAYZK) a few months ago, it makes all the difference.

    1. Cut two pieces of Flexifix from the roll, each 10 grids long. Cut out a slot in each, 5 grids deep by 4 grids wide:
    View attachment 2789

    2. Cut the rounded edges off the G4 adhesive. Just a little (a few millimeters). This ensures that the Flexifix goes beyond the edge of the adhesive and affixes it to the skin.
    View attachment 2790

    3. Attach and insert the sensor, then place the two Flexifix pieces around the sensor (the Flexifix pieces will overlap each other slightly, this is important to create a continuous seal). This photo is before the backing is removed:
    View attachment 2791

    4. Peel off the backing
    View attachment 2792

    5. Snap in the transmitter. Cut a thin strip of Flexifix (3 x 10 grids) and use it to secure the top of the transmitter. This avoids the transmitter being ripped loose.
    View attachment 2793

    6. Peel off the backing from the 3x10 strip. Here's how it looks when done:
    View attachment 2794
     
  2. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    I'm just wondering- I have never taped the transmitter on and I've never ever had a Dexcom transmitter rip off (and have now been using Dexcom sensors continuously for three years). Have you?
     
  3. Darryl

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    The adhesive on the sensor lasts 1-2 days on my daughter if not taped. Less if swimming.

    We tried skin-tac and it didn't help at all. With this taping method it lasts at least 1 week, and if we just add a little tape where needed after that, it's good for 2 weeks.
     
  4. SarahKelly

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    Thanks for this, we lost a sensor in the bottom of the pool this summer (luckily the older boys took it as a challenge to find the lost treasure and eventually did find it!). I was told by dexcom to not cover the sensor, but obviously this seems a moot point as they even covered it in the trials this summer with the "bionic pump".
    Do you use anything to get the adhesive remnants off of the sensor, or does that not matter if you're just recovering it?
    Also, has your daughter felt that the tape pulls? We use IV3000 under the dexcom now, but sometimes Isaac complains of a pulling feeling.
     
  5. ChaosRules

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    Darryl, maybe I'm wrong, but I think LantusFiend was wondering about the transmitter being ripped off the sensor, not the sensor coming off the skin. In step 5, you cover the top of the transmitter with tape.

    Thank you for the pictures and the step-by-step! I will show this to my son (who does all his own diabetes care). Maybe the sensor will stay on him and not bother him as much this way. He used to get really irritated that it would come off so quickly.
     
  6. Nancy in VA

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    We do the same thing - learned it with using the Navigator. But, we don't tape over the transmitter. That sucker isn't coming out - shoot, it rarely comes out even with the tool. But, the tape sometimes doesn't even last 4 hours with us if I don't tape.
     
  7. Michelle'sMom

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    We've never had a transmitter come out on its own. We use Hypafix now, but I buy the 4 inch wide & fold in half to cut a hole for the transmitter. The 4 inch covers the entire sensor length with no problems, & no need to trim the sensor pad. We do round the corners of the tape because it always seems to turn loose at the corners if we don't.
     
  8. Darryl

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    I should have explained, this is on the back her arm. The transmitter doesn't come out of the clear plastic piece, but the extra piece of tape keeps the clear plastic piece from ripping out of the adhesive if the transmitter hits on something.
     
  9. Darryl

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    We tried cutting a hole but it was hard to do. How do you do that? Rounding the corners sounds like a great idea.
     
  10. Mish

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    Hypafix is more of a cloth tape, similar to the tape that is on the sensor itself. So you can easily just cut a hole. The bad part about hypafix is that you must use some sort of skin tac over the original sensor tape as hypafix does not stick well to itself.

    Opsite sticks well, but he gets a terrible terrible rash from it, if it's on for more than a day.
     
  11. Darryl

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    To remove the adhesive glue I use 100% Isopropyl alcohol (70% does not work). This is used commonly in electronics repair to clean residue after the repair and evaporates instantly. I put a little on a regular alcohol wipe and it takes the glue right off.

    She says that she doesn't feel the flexifix. It's amazing stuff, it doesn't come off when it's stretched like tegaderm did. I don't know about IV3000.
     
  12. Beach bum

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    I find that even with copious amounts of liquid Uni-solve, it is still very hard to get the "stickies" off. While we don't see a rash, we do see a considerable amount of drying.
     
  13. KatieSue

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    I just fold it a bit and cut a hole out in the middle for the transmitter. We haven't had an issue. She wears them on her love handles and after about a week the bottom of the tape will sometimes start to peel up, from where it rubs on her pants. Then I just cut another strip and put it over the bottom. We've been getting 10-14 days out of a sensor. They usually just fall off, anything over the 7 I figure is gravy so I don't worry about it.
     
  14. Michelle'sMom

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    I cut the strip wide enough to overlap the edges of the sensor pad, then fold in half & just cut a "D" shape in the center. I've never counted the squares, just relied on my own estimation.

    We use Skin Tac applied in an oval directly to the skin, then place the sensor. Because we replace the tape when it's dirty, we don't apply any adhesive on top of the pad before taping over. Dd doesn't mind the Dex, but she hates when the tape gets even a little dirty.
     
  15. toohughey

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    My DD gets the "pulling" sensation too. We solve it by having her stand up and stick her belly out like she was full of air. This stretches the skin and when the tape is applied, it doesn't pull.
     
  16. Jen_in_NH

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    We do the same with Tegaderm. It works relatively well.
     
  17. Lizzy731

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    We have been using a similar taping technique since being on the dex. We use a small amount of desolve it on a cotton pad to get off the residue on top of the sensor making sure not to touch the underside with it. Then I clean it with an alcohol prep. We use desolve it to remove pods and sensors as well.
     
  18. moco89

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    Darryl, thank you for posting such an informative solution for taping the Dexcom.

    I am sure this makes a big difference for the many people experiencing problems with taping such devices. I am allergic to all tapes, and I develop a rash to the Flexifix tape, for days and itch nonstop.

    I sweat a lot due to having autonomic dysfunction due to a rare autoimmune disease. I also live in a very hot climate, and I have been successful with both the Omnipod and Dexcom G4 Platinum, even with heavy exercise outdoors.

    This is my (very detailed--and described in a very scattered way) technique, that I hope you will find helpful:

    For my Omnipod and Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter, I use kinesiology tape, which can be bought at virtually any sporting goods store. The tape is very sticky and tacky, is excellent at wicking out sweat, is very pliable, and is very elastic (stretches, a lot).

    This technique that I am about to describe works best if you apply the tape about an hour after the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter or the Omnipod is adhered to the skin, as the adhesive has fully set in on the skin.

    I can swim and work out as much as I want, and never have to worry about my devices falling off with this type of tape. After sweating a lot, I take a shower, wait for the reinforcing (extraneous) tape to completely dry (that way I know that the adhesive tape on my actual devices is dried--so it is less likely/not going to fall off), and replace the reinforcing tape using the same technique I used when I initially applied the device with.

    In order to resolve both the Omnipod and the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter adhesive issues, I have found that using the tape to reinforce the devices has been the most successful approach.

    For the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter, I cut two 6" strips (rough estimate) of the Kinesio Tex Gold Tape (2" Width x 16.4' Length). This tape also has an acrylic adhesive that is heat-activated!

    I apply the two strips lengthwise, with one strip covering one side (ex. left side of transmitter) and the other strip covering the other side (ex. right side of transmitter), and cover the entire transmitter, using both strips. I center (only for the length of the cut strips of tape) each strip by seeing if the excess tape that does not cover the transmitter is even, both below and above the sensor. I start out below the transmitter by applying enough of the one strip (on the one side that is to be covering the transmitter--such as left side) to stretch the tape, so that the tape is taut, not tight, and apply this amount of force over the transmitter and area tabled above the transmitter. When doing this, I bend my back backwards, NOT forwards, in an almost U-shape, to stretch my skin, so that the tape does a better job of compressing--and ultimately stretching--especially during exercise. This "stretching step" significantly improves the performance of the tape that I apply to my abdomen.

    You must start by stretching/pulling the tape below the transmitter/sensor, when applying the tape lengthwise/longitudally, as the weight of these devices (and gravity) cause these devices to fall off. This critical technique keeps the device better reinforced

    The same technique is to be used with the second strip of tape for reinforcing the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter. If the tape overlaps, where the transmitter is located, this is a good thing. But, make sure to place the second strip of kinesiology tape, centered, in a place where it also covers all of the original (white) sensor tape surrounding the transmitter about an additional half of an inch of skin.

    For the Omnipod, I usually use 2, 12" strips of kinesiology tape, and I apply essentially the same technique. I also make sure that both strips of the kinesiology tape completely covers the Pod and the adhesive surrounding the Pod, in addition to about 0.75" of skin beside the adhesive surrounding the Pod.

    Taping the Omnipod is slightly more challenging. The side with the cannula is the easiest to tape, and I always start by taping that side, as this side is usually more secure (less likely to fall off) and less sensitive to the pressure of the kinesiology tape's elastic traits. The wider side, that rocks back and forth, will require less tightness (tautness) and pressure applied, to allow this part of the Pod to rock back and forth.

    Removal

    If you mess up or need to replace the tape due to exercise/excessive sweating, you can always redo the taping. The next step is to discard the old tape and cut out new strips. Press the Pod or the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter against your skin to keep the device from falling when removing the extraneous tape, and slowly pull off the kinesiology tape. When you reach the original Pod adhesive tape or the Dexcom G4 transmitter adhesive tape, put your fingers over the edge of the white (adhesive) tape to protect the original tape from being ripped off. When you reach the transmitter or the plastic Pod, put pressure on that device to protect it. Next, as you reach the other side of the adhesive tape, put your fingers on the tape to protect it from being ripped off.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  19. moco89

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    You should apply that piece lengthwise/longitudinally, applying the tape starting below the sensor to the top of the sensor, as the transmitter is relatively heavy and works against gravity.
     
  20. Lizzy731

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    A known issue with the new pod relating to sensitivity settings that have been tweaked and issue has been resolved going forward according to my phone conversation with Robert Campbell...a top guy at Insulet.

    Out of curiousity, when were the pods with this issue manufactured?
     

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