Dexcom Rash: Alternative Solution.
The Dexcom rash is under control, but still not gone. So I'm still on the hunt for something that makes this rash feel less like I'm developing a skin-peeling, borderline-chemical burn looking mess underneath each sensor adhesive ring.
The inhaler solution works really well, but there is the risk of putting a steroid on top of my skin. (My doctor yesterday and I had a long discussion about the adhesive rash, or "contact dermatitis," as he's fond of calling it, and he cautioned me against long-term use of the inhaler solution because it could cause permanent discoloration of those patches of my skin. "I don't want that," I said, "but I do want to find some solution to this issue.")
Thankfully, about two weeks ago, I gave one of these a try:
This is a Tough Pad. (The name conjures up a mental image of the padding on the underside of a lion's paw. Rawr.) They're made by Johnson & Johnson, and I ordered a package of them off of Amazon after a reader emailed and said they were the solution that worked, rash-avoidance-wise, for them.
The Amazon description reads as follows: "These super durable Pads are designed to stay in place for over 24 hours, are extra flexible to fit over joints, and are 100% Waterproof and Sweatproof. Johnson & Johnson Red Cross Brand Tough Pads act in place of a scab to encourage fast natural healing. They're made with Compeed Moisture Seal Technology which helps form a gel cushion over the wound to cover painful nerve endings and protect from bumping to help minimize pain. Tough Pads are super durable and waterproof to stay on longer and keep your wound protected."
So it's a wound coverage thing, but I'm using it a touch differently. I'm still wearing my Dexcom sensors on my outer thigh, only now I'm plunking down this adhesive Tough Pad thing first. (Where? Image standing up straight, and then let your hands hang down by your sides. Where the palm of your hands rests on your outer thigh? That's where I'm shoving the sensor in.) Once the Tough Pad is in place and it's smoothed out, I stick the Dexcom adhesive right over it. The Tough Pad is long enough to cover the entire length of the adhesive, and more than wide enough to cover the width. And I just deploy the sensor wire right through the Tough Pad.
I used one two weeks ago, for the first time, and I did not have a skin reaction to it at all. (The only reaction I had was when I decided to stick a slip of Opsite Flexifix along the edge, once it started to peel. Even though the Opsite doesn't usually give me a reaction, my skin was a little pink when I pulled the whole set up off.) My accuracy throughout the life of that first sensor was completely fine and normal, as though there wasn't a skin barrier at all. And for this second round, of which I'm on Day Four, the song remains the same: no rash, no accuracy issues, and the only thing I'm being careful of is prematurely peeling back the Tough Pad (because once that adhesive gives up, the whole thing is shot).
I hope this is a solution that can work for me, long term and drug-free, while my doctor and dermatologist and I experiment with other solutions. Because the Dexcom woke me up twice last night with gross, sustained lows, and I'm not willing to give this device up because of a rash. I'm itching to make it work.