How to keep Dexcom 5 attached to skin

Hi, I have been using the Dexcom 5 for the past 5 months. I like how it works and definitely
is helpful in keeping things together since I have always been labeled as a uncontrollable with my sugar levels & my Type I that I have had for the past 33 years. My problem is that the sensor does not/will not stay stuck to my skin. I use top of my stomach to the side per my endo. We live in Florida and I sweat so it does no stay stuck and comes out or stops reading correctly so I need to replace. I am on my 3rd one in the past 7 days. Can’t afford them if I can’t get at least the full week out of each one. Does anyone have any suggestions??

Have you tried using skin Tac? I use it (also in Florida) and it works for me.

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Two words: OpSite Flexifix.

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currently using that with water proof tape but doesn’t last

First of all, welcome to TuD from a fellow member of the T1 class of '83. Your question is a perennial topic around here, so you might have a search on it. Like a lot of people I use SkinTac plus a Tegaderm patch. You have to cut a little square the same size as your transmitter out of the Tegarderm, but a good sharp Swiss Army knife does the trick–I just trace around the transmitter I’ve just detached. That’s kind of a standard version but some people have reactions to Tegaderm and whatnot, so the hard thing is deciding which recipe works from the dozens of variants you can find here.

You also might consider switching the back of the upper arm location. At least for me that’s a bit less sweaty of an area. It’s not officially sanctioned but a lot of us find it works at least as well or even better than the belly and leaves that easier-to-reach real estate for an insulin pump (if you use one). It’s a little tricky to put on the first time, but you get the hang of it. The ever perky Diabetic Danica has a great little video how-to:

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thanks for info…can’t use arm of leg…dr only wants it in stomach area.

Where do you want it? Your doctor doesn’t wear your Dexcom sensor, you do!


that’s true…probably give it a try in the arm…don’t have anything to lose

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I wear mine primarily on my thighs. When I shower, I tape a small plastic bag around my leg to keep the thing from getting wet. I just tear the bottom of a bag and pull it up to my thigh then tape around the top. Not getting my sensor wet helps the adhesive stay on. Have you contacted Dex customer support? They may be able o replace the sensors that do not stick as long as they should.

Opsite flexfix works for me… I use some underneath due to some reactions I have and one over with a hole for the sensor. I use it over my inset too because I have pulled some of those out by accident. You can order it at amazon for $27. The first roll has lasted over a year for me… I ordered another one because that one is almost done. I recently tried my arm again and it was ok, no worse than on my stomach but I had terrible itching with the second arm site. I just put one on my thigh today. It has been a bit crazy so far. I will see how it goes.

Opsite Flexifix works for me. I also used Skin Tac to bind the sensor adhesive to the Opsite patch, but after some trial and error found I could dispense with the Skin Tac.
I’ve also stopped cutting out the hole in the Opsite and now just allow the applicator to punch through the material when I insert a new sensor. I’m none the worse for wear.
I did some trial and error to see whether using an alcohol swab on the area made any difference (applying the sensor just after a shower). For me, I found it does make a difference for the better. I assume that soaps leave some residue and the alcohol removes it.
DrBB’s suggestion to look at Danica’s video is a good one. I did, when I was just starting and found it helpful.
But what works for one will not for another, given the variance in skin types, sweat, oils and other bio-gooey stuff, so a bit of test-and-learn is in order.
Also I agree with rgcainmd’s comment. As so many here will have found, while there’s the standard laboratory condition recommendation (like in the abdomen only) you may find it’s better to explore other options. I’m glad that I started using the shoulder, as the abdomen wasn’t nearly as comfortable.

I’m gonna give that a try with my next sensor change!

I’m a “heavy” person (for the past 14 years that is, ever since I had my second child at the age of 44; prior to that, I was 115 pounds at 5’4") and find that my abdomen sweats a lot more than my arms, so I’m glad you are considering arm sites. (And BTW, I’m not trying to say you are overweight or “heavy” like me!) You might consider trying the following:

  1. Put on a new sensor after washing the area well with good old soap and water, making sure to give it a good scrub with a washcloth. (I can verify that my daughter’s skin is “clean” after seeing that she has actually washed with soap and water, but when I immediately use an alcohol wipe on the area well, you’d be surprised at the “dirt” the wipe picks up…) Which segues into:
  2. Give the area a good wipedown with an alcohol wipe. (I use wipe after wipe until they come away clean.)
  3. “Paint” the area with Skin Tac or Mastisol or other liquid stickifying stuff after the residual alcohol has thoroughly dried (we learned from my daughter’s CDE that “alcohol and Skin Tac [and others sticky stuffs] do not play well together.”) Be sure to leave a small “dot” of skin (about the size of a standard hole punch, maybe a little bit larger) sticky-stuff-free because if the sensor wire goes through this stuff on its way into your subcutaneous tissue, it can pick up some of the stuff and can negatively affect (or downright eff up) the accuracy of your sensor readings. Not true for everyone, but this occurs in some cases, so better safe than sorry.
  4. Immediately peel the backing from the adhesive bandage part of your Dexcom sensor.
  5. Here’s a crucial but very tricky step: you want to wait a little bit for the sticky stuff to dry, but just enough until it reaches its peak level of optimal stickiness. This step is an art, and depends a great deal on the ambient humidity, barometric pressure, and alignment of the planets. The time to wait can vary significantly from day to day. What I do is paint an area larger than needed so there is a decent margin around where the Dexcom adhesive “bandage” area will lay. I then give it about 7.23 seconds to dry after which time my daughter begins touching the outside margin of the painted area in order to determine the beginning of the relatively narrow window of time in which the sticky stuff is at its optimal tackiness. When she gives me the go ahead, I apply the sensor and smooth out the adhesive bandage part and proceed with the harpooning.
  6. Next, we use Opsite Flexifix, with a window that I have painstakingly punched out for the plastic part of the sensor. Be sure to round out the four outside corners of the Opsite Flexifix to minimize it catching on clothing, etc. There are two schools of though on whether to punch out a window or to just cover the whole sensor with a solid piece of Flexifix. I use a window, my reasoning being that this eliminates the area of skin directly surrounding the plastic part of the sensor which becomes “tented” by the Opsite not directly in contact with your skin or the bandage part of the sensor. I guess I view this small area as a “mini greenhouse” where sweat accumulates and ends up defeating the whole purpose of using Opsite Flexifix in the first place. However, I’m sure there are others that find covering the whole thing more effective because it keeps out water from bathing or swimming. I use a Q-tip (or whatever they call “cotton buds” in your particular neck of the woods) to dry the moisture surrounding the sensor after my daughter bathes or swims.
  7. From time to time, I make my daughter sit still long enough for me to trim off the bits of Opsite Flexifix that begin peeling up around the outside edges in order to minimize the possibility of it getting caught on clothing and ripped off.

Simple, right? :unamused:

We have also used GrifGrips, but my daughter and I both agree that, at least for her, these are overkill and wind up not feeling comfortable. If you would like to try a GrifGrip, please PM me your address, and I’d be happy to mail you one.

If all else fails, use SuperGlue (a.k.a. cyanoacrylate). :wink: Just kidding; please do not do this!

Good luck, and let us know what ends up working out for you in this “sticky” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: situation.


Right on, Rose! Well stated.

Your endo doesn’t have to deal with this barnacle leaching on your body twenty-four seven, you do.

As I’m sure Rose ('cause she’s a doc, but everyone else here too) will agree, any doctor that would fire you as a patient because you wouldn’t wear a CGM sensor where they wanted you to isn’t worth having as a doctor.

Dexcom only officially approves of the belly area, because FDA approval is expensive, and they (understandably) don’t want to spend the money. The DOC has done a fine job of establishing without any doubt you can place a sensor anywhere on the body where it has good access to bloodflow, and it will produce the same results.

I haven’t put one anywhere but the back of my arms for almost two years. I can’t imagine wearing it anywhere else. I completely forget its there.

I usually get 2 weeks out of a sensor.

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Superglue is available in a flexible formula. Anyone tried it to secure sensor tape edges?

I personally would never use Superglue. I once ripped off skin having used SkinTac and can’t even imagine the skin devastation from Superglue. I usually get 8-10 days with just SkinTac and then apply Opsite Flexifix or DexTape which carries me through another week. Sometimes then I apply tape if that starts pulling up. Yesterday I managed to pull off a DexTape without ripping the sensor off and applied a manually cut out bandaid that is working great. These bandages are expensive but I got two for one at Walgreens a while back and I’ve been happy with them. Most sensors last three weeks for me and I consider each of my adhesives or tapes a 1-week solution, so I use one after another.

I wasn’t recommending it either. Just wondering if those that use Superglue and complain about the little broken bits of it, had tried the flexible type.

Here, we are using Mastisol to tack down loose edges, as other tapes (clear dressings) aren’t working well for us.

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