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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.

Mystery rash cured, hopefully!

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.)


Name of the heroish steriod inhaler you used - please and thank you!

YES, I can't believe I didn't mention this myself. I read about this on CWD. Someone mentioned that asthma meds sprayed on the skin stops itching--it's a steriod after all. I actually used this on bug bites. So it makes sense that it would help your allergy. They give you prednisone for very severe allergies. I'm so glad this worked for you.


I really wish you did actually burp rainbows.

I'm so happy for you!! Thank God for the DOC and for Al Gore for inventing the Internet!

This is really an awesome discovery! Tip from an asthmatic: if it quits spraying even while it seems like the canister's not yet empty, run warm water through the dispenser. Probably need to dry real well before using for your purpose.

Any suggestions for keeping the site ion place mine falls off after a few days

That's amazing! And how nice that someone let you know about it.

Warning, thread hijack.. Kerri, I took your suggestion and am a T1D for a day. Thank you for keeping us (me) informed on these things. Also, very curious, how does one know to spray their inhaler on their infusion site, just to see if it would help with a rash problem? So very smart!

Has anyone spoken to the manufacturer? My son wears a Dex and has had the same rash for 2 months. The manufacturer gave me no help when I called to report the rash.

i wish *i* burped rainbows. it would amuse the whole family!

I had a rash appear two weeks after I started on Dexcom recently. I found I have to use benadryl and IV 3000.It has worked wonderful so far. If that does not work I will use my inhaler if I need too. Great advice as always.

This is very interesting. So is there a topical steroid that you could apply (and let dry) that would achieve the same effect, or is there something special about the inhaled formulation? Also, this may not even be possible, but does steroid contact with skin affect blood sugars at all? I know i get a bump in my sugars when i use my steroid inhaler...

Also, I'm trying to figure out how to work a Lance Armstrong joke into this conversation. Stay tuned for that.

love it when random things are extremely useful!!

and, I too, wish I could burp rainbows...would make substitute teaching immensely more enjoyable!!

This is fantastic! I'm so happy you found a solution. Hope it continues to work for you. Thanks for sharing.

Did DexCom upgrade you to a G4 Platinum?

Great! I know that's Flovent, since I inhale a puff every night to prevent an asthmatic cough that my upper respiratory allergies bring on!

From the Kerri with asthma, to the Kerri with diabetes, that is one use for steroid inhalers that I had never heard of :]. Glad they can [crazily] help us both :].

Now rock that off-label FloVent use ;).

lol! I got the sports analogy this time, thank you. And that video is like a bad rash. My boy has an inhaler. Wonder if that would work here. Hmmm.

I think they slipped something with a slow time release into our snacks in Westerly, because I recently got a rash from a frickin' band aid! I think it was in August too!

That is great to hear Kerri - that it is working. I am the same as you with issues with tape on my skin. Reason why the Omnipod will never work for me - too much adhesive area. I wish Canada had the the Dexcom - Health Canada still hasn't allowed it into our country for one reason or another.
May you remain rash free my friend!
Psst - really - having a rash indicates possible bun in the oven? LOL I'm in my 50's my DH would freak out if I had a bun in the oven :)

Shall I be ever so happy that my older son has asthma and it is actually benefiting my youngest in some odd way, yup I am. Isaac has been using a CGM on and off for two years, but mostly off due to the rash. Now with this tidbit we can FINALLY hope for a solution, thank you for sharing this with us all :)

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