Infusion set and CGM irritation

I always had some amount of itching with my infusion sets and dressing in the past, usually after a couple days, but more recently the itching and irritation has gotten much worse. Now the itching starts sometimes the same day I put a new set or CGM sensor in. For the pump sites it is somewhat tolerable enough to not have to change it, but for the CGM having to go 7 days with it, and it itching more each day, it has begun to become unbearable. The tape on the infusion set and CGM are definitely the worst cause, but the Tegaderm seems to itch as well. I had heard that Skintac was supposed to help with it, but so far it hasn’t helped much at all with the itching. Anyone else who seems to have an allergy to the adhesive used for this stuff please tell me what you have done to overcome it!

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Skin Tac (to my knowledge, and I have them both) is NOT a barrier product such as Skin Prep (by Smith & Nephew). If you let Skin Prep dry fully, it is a barrier. if you dont let it dry prior to application of any dressing, it also becomes somewhat of an adhesive enhancer. Give it a try. OR, you could lay down a piece of IV3000 prior to installing your set. that’s even more of a barrier than a chemical barrier, of course.

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I don’t have this challenge but I’ve read in various places online that spraying Flo-nase on the skin and letting it dry before applying the diabetes device can help. One of our members, @Jen, has been seriously challenged with allergies and treating diabetes. I’m hoping she sees that I’ve tagged her and she can comment. Good luck!

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I’ve had problems with reactions to the cannulas more so than adhesives, but it’s been a multi-year struggle for me, so I’ll share what has worked:

  • First and foremost, switching infusion sets; for me, the metal sets are the least reactive. Different sets are made from different materials, so there may be something that causes an allergy in one type of set that’s not in another type.
  • Avoiding SkinTac at all costs, as well as other adhesives (like Tegaderm) that I react to. If I put SkinTac on a site or sensor, it starts itching right away and is almost guaranteed to die within 24 hours.
  • I’ve found Hypafix and Opsite Flexifix to be two adhesives that I don’t react to, so these are what I use over top of my sets and sensors.
  • I’ve found that getting allergies in general (through antihistamines and other medications) and atopic eczema under control (through daily antihimstianes, steroid creams, and other medications) has made a big difference in the amount I react. If I forget to take an antihistamine, in addition to getting congested and itchy eyes my sites start itching.
  • I remove infusion sets as soon as they start getting itchy or irritated, because otherwise it affects insulin absorption. This means I sometimes change metal sets daily.
  • I put Benadryl cream and/or Polysporin on my sites after removal, depending on how irritated/inflamed they are (Polysporin only for broken skin).

I haven’t found things like spraying on Flonase to be all that useful, although I haven’t really given it an extensive try. I find it difficult to spray and then remember exactly where I sprayed it, so it may be that I’m inserting sites away from the area it actually dried. I also have concerns about using steroids long-term on my skin, as multiple dermatologists have told me (in treating my eczema) that steroids can cause the skin to thin. However, I do use a steroid nasal spray and steroid inhaler every day, so maybe my concerns are overblown.

Good luck in getting your reactions under control!


Well, I can definitely say that putting down tegaderm (and I would imagine just about any other transparent dressing) didn’t quite help. It itches far less than the site and CGM adhesive, but there is still itching and after removal there is still a red area. I wasn’t able to tell before if it was just the device adhesive or both, but I guess it’s both.

Seeing as Skin-tac seems to be of no help at all, I guess I will try Skin-prep. Looks like their descriptions are very similar, but maybe Skin-prep will be different.

I don’t find Skin Prep and skin tac to be designed for the same purpose. Skin Prep is supposed to be a barrier and Skin Tac is supposed to enhance adhesion. However like I said before if you don’t allow Skin Prep to dry it can improve adhesion somewhat similarly to the way that Skin Tac is designed to work