Dexcom Rash: Swinging for the Fences.
The Dexcom rash wasn't fixed by Opsite Flexifix tape underneath it as a barrier between the sensor and my skin. Alcohol wipes after showing/before applying the sensor didn't work, either. Neither did using a hydrocortisone cream, or Skin Tac, or Cetaphil soap. Dexcom, regardless of what I threw at the sensor, continued to act rashly.
And this is where a reader came in with a suggestion that saved my skin. She wrote, "You need to spray steroid asthma inhaler on the site after the alcohol or iv prep and before you insert." She also attached a photo of a rash she received from a CGM and it looked just like mine.
Oh Internet ... I love you big time.
It took some research, and several phone calls/visits/consultations with my PCP, dermatologist, and endocrinologist, in addition to phone calls to the Dexcom hotline o' bearded service (shout-out to The Hammer) to lock down a prescription for a steroid inhaler (the conversations about this off-label application were long and intense), and this morning marks the 36 hour mark with a sensor.
Without a rash.
"And there goes the ball ... right over the fence ... home run!!!"
*Crowd goes wild. Or at least Birdy claps her hands and the cats don't throw up, for once.*
Just as the fabulous reader (my hero) had suggested and after discussing the option at length with my endocrinologist, I showered and dried off, and then sprayed the inhaler spray against my clean, dry skin. (It surprised me when it came out as a kind of powdery substance and not a mist.) I sprayed it about three times to cover the anticipated surface area of the sensor adhesive. After about 30 seconds, when my skin seemed dry, I placed the sensor on like normal and deployed the needle. The adhesive patch felt a little stiffer and cracklier than normal, but the following morning, it was smooth and pliable against my skin, like it usually is.
But the best part is that after 24 hours, I wasn't itchy. And this morning, at the 36 hour mark, the adhesive edge wasn't ringed with the red, puffy, reactive skin I've become used to since the end of August. I'm not sure where this adhesive allergy came from in the first place (and for those who asked, no, I'm not pregnant), and I'm not sure why the inhaler steroid is battling it, but it is. And honestly, after so many weeks without a proper Dexcom safety net, I don't care why it's working. I'm just thankful that it is, and that my medical team is on board to try some different things in efforts to keep me safe.
Note: This is not medical advice. Please don't try this without consulting with and getting clearance from your medical team. I'm just sharing anecdotal information about something that worked in my personal diabetes life. Nothing I ever say should be taken as medical advice because if I was really useful, I'd have an A1C of 5.7% and I'd burp rainbows.
(Second Note, for Monica, who may be reading this post today and who I know hates sports analogies. "Swinging for the fences" means "attempts at doing difficult or near-impossible things," or at least according to Urban Dictionary. You're welcome. Oh, and this is also for you.)