It’s been almost a year since the first itchy, blistering rashes showed up underneath my Dexcom sensors, but by taking a very peculiar set of precautions, the rashes are all but gone. Thanks to the use of the J&J Toughpad underneath my Dexcom sensors, I’m able to go a full seven (plus!) days without reacting rashly.
So yay! for no rash. But now keeping that sucker stuck is another issue entirely.
It’s not just the sensor that I’m trying to keep stuck, but the whole Toughpad/sensor combination. Peeling edges of any kind create a domino effect where, if not addressed immediately, the whole sensor will just flop the eff off. (Like on those days when I put a new sensor on and then pull on a pair of pants. If the edge of the Toughpad gets compromised in any way, with rolling edges or peeling, that sensor has a life shorter my fuse … which is unfortunately quite short.)
The life of my average Dexcom G4 sensor goes as follows:
- Prep my skin by taking a shower. (Or, if I haven’t just showered, I wash my skin with soap and water and let it dry before starting the application process.)
- Warm up the Toughpad by rubbing it vigorously in my hand. (HA! Mis-wrote that as “rubbing it vigorously with my nad” at first. Nad warming. Bwaaa haaaa!)
- Stick the Toughpad to my skin and press firmly, making sure it’s stuck.
- Remove the adhesive backing from the Dexcom sensor and place the sensor on top of the Toughpad, so that none of the sensor adhesive is touching my skin.
- Install the sensor. And roll on with it, as is, for a few days.
- Once the Toughpad starts to peel (usually around day three or four), I slap some magical Opsite Flexifix tape on the edges.
- Once the tape is starting to peel and the edges of the Toughpad are lifting away from my skin a little bit, I use the teeny, super-sharp scissors from my sewing kit and snip away the un-stuck edges of tape and Toughpad, leaving a smaller ring of Toughpad around the sensor base.
- Then I tape that shit down again.
- This snip-and-tape process goes on for as long as I can manage, helping prolong the life of the sensor and to also keep my frustration at a reasonable level. See the photo above for a Dexcom sensor/Toughpad combo that’s been whittled down.
I don’t know why it works, but it does, and it helps keep my Dexcom sensor stuck for the FDA-approved seven days … and then some.