Today I wanted to explain to those that are new to the Dexcom CGM system how to extend the life of Dexcom G5 Sensors.
Dexcom Sensors are meant to last for 7 days. If you are self funding or your child hates sensor changes then you may want those sensors to last longer than 7 days.
Before I explain I should say it’s probably not best practice. Accuracy for example will not be guaranteed after the 7 days. However many people find they can get many weeks out of a sensor without compromising accuracy. Just make sure if you decide to try extending the life of the sensors that you keep a close eye on accuracy. In this post I am not advocating this process I’m simply explaining how many people are doing it.
The key to extending the life of a sensor is keeping them secure. The adhesive tends to come loose by the end of the 7 days.
We firstly use Skin-Tac on the adhesive of the sensor before applying it in the first place. I like the wipes but some people prefer the liquid.
Apply the Dexcom sensor in the normal way.
Secure the sensor with an adhesive cover. For kids we find Rock Tape to be the most comfortable. I recommend the wider 10 cms size to get the best fit. It’s available in a wide choice of colours which makes it a bit more fun for the kids. You will need to cut a sensor size hole in your piece of Rock Tape this can take a bit of a practice but I’m dreadful at crafting and even I can do it.
At the end of the 7 days you can either wait for the sensor to end or stop it at a convenient time on the 7th day. Simply then restart the sensor in the same way you would if you’d just applied a new sensor by hitting the start sensor option. You will then have the usual warm up period and carry on as normal.
Keep a close eye on the sensor covering. Ensure the Rock Tape is firmly stuck down, you may need to gently remove it and replace it at some point. We’ve even been known to trim the edges and stick more over the top. Basically do whatever you need to do to keep it well strapped on.
HOW LONG WILL I GET OUT OF THE DEXCOM SENSORS?
Unfortunately there is no firm answer to this. It varies from person to person and even from sensor to sensor. We typically get 2.5 weeks out of it. Normally we lose one because I haven’t done a very good job of keeping an eye on the tape. Sometimes the sensor just becomes unreliable and we know we need to change it. Make sure you keep well hydrated though as this also seems to help.
I hope you’ve found this article on how to extend the life of Dexcom Sensors useful. Please consider signing up to our FREE newsletter in the sidebar for tips, tricks and information on living with Type 1 Diabetes.