New Dexcom G5 User with Questions

Hi - Thanks for the welcome - I started using the G5 3 weeks ago. So far I am on my 5th sensor - the first 2 were fine #3 and #4 had a sensor failure one after 3 days and one before the 2 hour warm up was completed. Dexcom was very responsive and sent replacements the next day.

My questions are: Ever since the sensor failures, every time I shower I get either the ??? or the hour glass and it takes about 2 hours to reset. Dexcom said to use a hairdryer on cool to dry the transmitter - unfortunately I don’t have one. Has anyone else had this happen - does the hair dryer work (I may have to buy one) and is there another way to get the meter to come back on line sooner?

My second question is: I use my iPhone 5S vs. the receiver. Is there a way to set the alerts to vibrate only? The only selections for the alerts are different alarm sounds.

Thanks very much. Grace

What’s your procedure for sensor insertion? Specifically, do you put something on your skin before you insert the sensor? Do you put something on after?

I put a half of a Tough Pad on the spot I’m going to insert into (a few hours before I do it) to allow me to wear the sensor for longer than seven days. Without it, my skin begins to itch something fierce around day six–underneath the sensor.

It’s even worse than just ripping off the sensor because I ALSO put Opsite Flex-Fix over the sensor and transmitter to keep the water out of it. This setup has worked well for me. I get at least 14 days out of a sensor.

What causes me to change sensors is the condition of my Opsite over-tape and weirdness in my sensor readings.

What do YOU do?

I just started on the G5 and am on my third sensor. As others have suggested I have started using a procedure with using Skin Tac before I lay down the sensor and then using Opsite tape over the sensor (leaving the transmitter revealed). I still have concerns about sleeping on my sensors and getting wonky readings, but at least I am doing what I can to avoid unnecessary issues with the sensors getting compromised.


I cover over EVERYTHING with Opsite. I haven’t had a problem.

Hi. I haven’t used anything on my skin before insertion. The sensor sticks very well (almost too well) by itself.

I may try the Flex-fix to keep the water out. Thanks for the suggestion.

How does using a Tough Pad and Flex-Fix Give you more than 7 days out of a sensor? Don’t they shut off automatically? The two I had that worked shut off after 7 days.

Thanks for the info. Grace

Below is my original answer from an earlier post.

This is for a Dexcom. Stop the sensor. Sing the ABC song. Now start the sensor without doing anything to your week-old sensor (except maybe make sure it’s well-taped). It will begin the warm-up period as if you actually replaced the sensor. Then input the two BG readings in two hours and away you go.

You can skip the ABC song if you’re tone deaf. Besides, if you’re in public it MIGHT seem strange.

The Tough Pad is intended to be a wound-covering Band-Aid that keeps out moisture to help a wound heal faster. I’ve found that wearing one keeps the moisture out and that helps the site to NOT itch, so you can keep the sensor on longer. The Opsite helps keep out moisture from the other side.

I’m going to tell you exactly what is going on with the g5. yes, after you taker a shower you will get 3 question marks, if you walk into the next room, it will disconnect you for a while if it tries to read your blood sugar while you walk away from it and there is a wall between you. I have gone through countless sensors which did not pick back up after 3 hours. yes I called dexcom and they did replace the sensors, but I do not have an iphone nor do I want one. they are going to discontinue the G4 which worked great. I used it for one year and never got disconnected while taking a shower and I was able to walk 100 feet away from the receiver without a problem. I cannot go jogging anymore because if I sweat, I get the three question marks. if I pickup an 8 pound box, I get the question marks because the G5 doesn’t want me to flex muscles. dexcom took 100 steps back with the g5. they should be paying us to test their product not the other way around. I am still checking my blood sugar 7 times a day with a glucometer because of the inaccurate readings Dexcom is aware of these problems, I have spoken to many people who are in the same boat as us. by the way, swimming is also out because I can’t get the sensor wet like I did with the g4. Because of the wrong readings it looks like this g5 is working like the medtronics CGM (wrong 80% of the time or not working at all). if I don’t have an iphone, why am I going through this pain? why don’t they continue to make the g4 available to us so at least we can use something that works while they work on perfecting their new g5. and why did the FDA approve the G5 when it is disconnecting paying brittle diabetics for 3 hours at a time? for those of you who had problems with the g4 also, you just have to keep getting it replaced while you still have the warranty. I know people who received 5 bad receivers until dexcom finally sent them one that worked. I think the problem is how they package the receivers for shipment (there isn’t much protecting the top of the receiver). sensors will work up to 4 weeks if you use Opsite Flexifix tape AROUND the sensor. I made myself a mold out of cardboard so I can just place a piece of tape on top of it and cut a hole for the sensor. this tape holds it for 4 weeks. the g5 will display three question marks after 3 weeks when it is time to change the sensor. I wish I would have known this a year ago before I listened to dexcom and replaced them every week. the sensors actually work better after the first week. to gracie9, try putting the receiver in a waterproof pouch and taking it in the bathroom with you and put it out of waters reach but as close to you as you can get it like on a shelf. remember, even if you have a glass shower door separating you from the receiver, it will give you three question marks because the blue tooth cannot reach the sensor. so maybe it is not the water that causing the problem at all. hope all this info helps.

Thanks very much again. I will try both. When a sensor finally works well I’d like to keep using it for more than a week!

Thanks Tandy. I will try the tape and take the receiver with me. Went swimming with the first sensor and it was fine. Grace

I too find that the Bluetooth is more prone to disconnection than the G4 was, but nothing like the problems you’ve been having. Sounds more like a transmitter problem than a sensor one though. I recently had a transmitter crap out and the replacement they sent me has been great–hardly a dropout for weeks. Definitely some variability in quality with these things, which they ought fix.

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Thanks drBB. I’ll give Dexcom a call & see if they’ll send another transmitter. Can the transmitter be changed out while wearing the sensor? Or do I have to wait till I replace the sensor? Sorry for so many questions. This is all new to me. Thanks again.

You are correct in that the G5 range is less than the G4 (Bluetooth vs G4 frequency). What causes the ??? is when there are high fluctuations in sensor data (could be a pressure high/low, temp fluctuation, moisture, bad sensor, bad transmitter ect.). The receiver has nothing to do with it. It just receives the data. All calculations are within the transmitter. If I calibrate 3 times with a 15 min interval–the data will come back online faster. This is my experience.

I have noticed that site location is a big factor as well. For example maybe the side wouldn’t be a good place if you are a side sleeper. The G5 is larger than the G4, so pressure highs/lows are more prevalent I have noticed.

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The G4 is still available. I just got one through Pumps It, Inc… I think Dexcom just doesn’t advertise them as hotly is all, but you can definitely get the G4 Platinum with Share. I specifically wanted the G4, not the G5, because I don’t have an iPhone so the G5 was of no use to me, especially with its shorter transmitter range and shorter transmitter life.

I go swimming with my G4 and manage to get about 1/3 - 1/2 of my readings even while I’m in the pool. I sometimes do get the ??? but it usually clears up after about 15 minutes of getting out of the water.

I’ve found that singing the ABC song insures greater accuracy after re-starting at Day 7. Still pretty accurate on Days 8 through 14+ without the song, but ever-so-slightly less accurate. :wink:

The one time I had Dexcom replace a malfunctioning transmitter (G4), they sent me a new sensor with it. Truth is, I have changed transmitters without changing the sensor – just had to be very careful not to dislodge the sensor at all. Dexcom says to change the sensor with a new transmitter.

Well - Dexcom is sending another sensor. This will be 3 in less than a week! They said to try putting tape around the sensor to prevent water from getting into it and that if I took a very hot shower steam sometimes can get into the sensor. I have until July 9 to return it. Thanks again.

I usually have to recalibrate after a shower so I work it out to where I am due around that time. I guess moisture is the issue. I rarely get ??? But it has happened. I use skin Tac after I apply the sensor. It soaks thru the adhesive part of the sensor. For me, the sensor usually quits before it comes loose.

I had something similar when I started using the G4: we solved the problem when Dex phone tech asked me how I put in sensors, and I learned that alcohol is not the same as IV prep when it comes to cleaning the transmitter (the sticky stuff causes problems). I made the switch, and haven’t had major problems with ??? since. Good luck.

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The transmitter just sends the sensor info to the receiver which has the algorithm for conversion to the readings and graphs, not the transmitter. All BG calibrations are therefore entered into the receiver. Software updates are to the receiver, the latest is SW rev. 3.01.026 for the G4.
I just received a new G4 receiver with Share which has a different software version than my 2 year old G4 (SW rev. 2.01.185) I decided to compare the 2 receivers and ran both of them simultaneously off the same transmitter. Results were close, but not identical.
I usually swim 45-60 minutes with the G4 and only have a break in the data stream which starts right back up when I get within range. Sensors generally last 14 days.

Well, I think I’ve finally got it. Tried Skin-tac on the old sensor, still got ??? and hour glass after a shower so I tried Opsite over everything and that worked. No break in reading. I’m going to use both since my sensor was starting to come loose and I was also able to restart my sensor after 7 days very excited about that! Saving $ on sensors. Dexcom sent a new transmitter. There was a return envelope with the transmitter. I guess they want the old one back but the tech didn’t mention it. I hope they don’t refurbish and reuse them. Anyway - Thank you all very much for your advice and ideas. Today is the last day I can return the Dexcom, and I planned to - but thanks to you all, it finally works and I’m keeping it. It has helped me a lot already by identifying trends and the point where insulin kicks in before a meal (30-45 minutes vs. the 15 mins I was told to wait). Thanks again!