Tips, Tricks, Advice for new Dexcom out of the box

Hey everyone, I am expecting my Dexcom to be at the house. I am new to this whole diabetes thing, so obviously I am new to any idea of CGM’s. I am sure there are multiple tips out there, but on the recent discussions I didn’t see one where people just put their tips, tricks, and just general advice that you may, or may not find from a trainer, instructional book or video, etc.

I would love to hear some emphasis on conventional what to do, what NOT to do, and maybe even some unconventional things that you vets out there have discovered works best for you.

Things I am interested in are:

  1. Site placement for various activities (sports, intimacy, etc.)

  2. Actual length it is safe to wear (not FDA rules.)

  3. Different skin preps, what works, what doesn’t.

  4. Different things to know about working with the software, (I have a mac, will do some research on Parallels, and maybe some free ones like Wine) but I may just resort to using my wife’s old work laptop.

  5. Receiver tips: I ordered a strap from, and it looks awesome. Has a clear window so I can check it while working out or running. She made it custom using material that is very water resistant. I doubt I will use the receiver while playing football, but can I leave it on the sideline and between drives go over and let it pick up the transmitter?

Since I am new I probably don’t even know the right questions to ask, so please help me out so that I don’t open that box completely blind. Thanks in advance, this community has been so awesome. You have definitely been a blessing!


Congrats on the DexCom. You will love it... I know I do.

1) If you have someone that can help you with the insertion, I think the back of the upper arm is the best place for the site. I completely forget that it's there.

2) I wear mine until the tape gives up. I can usually make it close to 14 days. Sometimes more.

I'll let other respond to the rest. Enjoy!

IMPORTANT: Stop taking Tylenol (or anything with acetominaphen) as these drugs will render the Dex completely useless (Your numbers will be rediculously innacurate). I dont find this to be a difficult thing to do...myself, others disagree, however.

So ibuprofen is ok?

Yes, Ibuprofen wont affect the dex in any, what I do is take advil for any aches/pains.

Last Friday I had a WICKED headache. We were at a friend's house, so I asked her for some Advil. She gave me 3 little white caplets, telling me they were Advils and I downed them. A few hours later, I noted my sugars were going straight up (three freakin' arrows up!), and did not stop until they hit the top (400). Holy heck! I grabbed my OneTouch and tested, and was at 150... I called her and she said oops, they were Tylenol...

So, that's first hand, recent knowledge that acetaminophen really does make the Dex go bonkers.


P.S. For my most recent transmitter placement I tried the inside of my thigh, and placed it horizontally -- ¡No bueno! My numbers are scattershot at best from that location. Back to the tummy for me for now (I don't wanna have to make my wife place them on the back of my arms... oh well).

never, never EVER just take pills that you are not SURE OF! That is a hard rule for life!

Right. Good to know. I never thought of that. (I kid)

Of course I know that, and in this case I trusted a friend to tell me correctly what they were. She got it wrong. To have questioned her about it -- are you sure? ARE YOU SURE? -- would be angling toward disrespectful, and a bit hysterical.

Let me ask you this: How many times have you ordered a diet drink from a restaurant? Do you go watch the person fill your cup? Do you ask to inspect the pipes hooked up to the machine the server is filling your cup from, to insure they did not get the pipes crossed?

Of course not. Right? At some point, you have to trust even folks like that -- whom you don't know and will never ever see again -- to be mindful of what they serve.

On more than one occasion I have been handed a full sugared drink (I always ask the server, to be sure they remembered...).


I'm sorry if my words offended seem a bit peeved by my words of warning. No, I do ALWAYS watch when I am at a fast food restaurant, but you are correct in assumjing that I dont inspect the equipment to ensure that I am getting a diet soda...and I dont ask a waiter if what I ordered was a diet drink for SURE. I can usually taste that a drink is NOT sugar free, and if it does taste funny I do ask the waiter/waitress if they are certain it is a diet. If they (which they usually do) act offended I just tell them that if I have sugar I will die (usually they are not really in the knnow, so they just accept the lie). As for your friend, knowing that advil are not white, I would have asked to see the bottle.

I have wondered about that too! I have been OCD about everything. My wife has a taste for diet beverages, she can pick them out. If I wasn’t around her, I would down a few before I figured it out. By myself, I might actually double check the waiter every time… I’ll just have to leave a bigger tip!

Not exactly a tip, but have realistic expectations of what the Dexcom (or any CGM) will give you. The numbers will not always match your meter and it cannot be a complete replacement for fingersticks. The manual makes clear that it will be about +/- 20% and should be used for trends rather than exact numbers. They also have a nice table in the manual that shows the false high and low alarm rate (can be about 30%), how close what % of the time it is in different ranges, etc.

WHat it is good for is things like seeing how you react to foods and insulin, what is happening when you are asleep, reactions to exercise or other activity, etc. It gives you an extra level of confidence that things aren't going awry or alerts you if they are.

Some people get the Dexcom thinking it is going to be as good as a a meter and are disappointed when it isn't.

To answer some of your questions:
3) I just use the adhesive that comes with it...for me it works for more than a week as others have noted. Some people use an additional adhesive, like tegaderm.

5) You can leave the receiver on the sideline and then go near it and let it pick up...but since it only updates every 5 minutes, it won't always update immediately when you are near it. Sometimes you luck out and it does get a reading immediately, sometimes you have to wait.

Great entry....HPNpilot! Absolutely! I second everything...especially your comment on the CGM not being a replacement to fingersticks.

Ibuprofen is okay - unless you have kidney issues. If that's the case, do not take ibuprofen.

I've been on the Dex for about three weeks now and have been loving the results. Still checking about 6 times a day - old habits die hard right? I apparently have skin that adhesive doesn't like to stick to very well. I have to use some other form of tacky stuff. I've tried tegaderm - works pretty well, Iv300 - not super impressed with and I'm ordering some Opsite Flexfix b/c my doc mentioned it. Keep it calibrated and it will be a useful tool but not a replacement for finger pokes. So far I've only tried using my abdomen but it hasn't been a problem at all, may try the arm next. DexCom's customer support is wonderful too! Hope you love it!

Here is a video showing placement on the upper arm without assistance. I find this to be the most accurate site.
Upper Arm insertion

1- I like the side of my butt cheek for the sensor
2- i wear my usually 12-14 days on ave
3- I have zero problem with the adhesize and aonly use and alcohol wipe before I insert the sensor. Even when I surf it stays on perfectly

Does it really not hurt when you put it on your arm/thigh/butt?? Seems to me it would hurt most on your arm.
My doc (previous one, in the middle of getting a new one) didn't ever recommend me checking my bg on my arm or anywhere. He said they're less accurate.
He also never wanted me to do my shots (still on MDI but hoping to change that soon) in my thigh or anywhere besides my belly. Result? I hate swimsuit season.
Did anyone else's doctor tell them this or have I been getting bad advice??

I was told to rotate my injection sites, and do so to this day.

My original doc -- back in the early '80s -- suggested I do my butt cheeks and my arms along with my thighs and my belly to get the best rotation schedule. However, doing the arms requires leaning against a door jamb to 'roll up' the arm (to allow injection into sub-q), and I could never quite master that. It was real hard to do that for me. And then the whole butt thing was a major FAIL when I put my then fairly long needle right through the side of my thumb when injecting once as I was reaching around (OUCHIE!!!). So, I went with rotating the things I can actually see easily without having to twist and turn and such -- thighs and belly.


I rotate around my tummy, but have found that the Lantus will burn/hurt more if I do it above my belly button. So I save the below area for it and use above for Novolog/Apidra.
I have one of those...I don't know what to call it....double tummies? And I absolutely hate it because I know its only because of the insulin.

>> double tummies...

Yeah, this is funny (um, not yours... just the idea of it) -- I have forever talked about my belly bulge with my wife, and have taken steps in the gym to mitigate it, to no real avail.

Along the way I've heard it referred to in passing as a diabetic belly, but I've never been able to find any real info as to the cause (if caused by insulin, why don't my legs look huge, like Arnold's or something?!?!?). TuD member miketosh and I had a brief discussion about this last week, and it was the first time I've really discussed it with another T1 (spoken only to docs about it -- my Endo poo-poos the idea it is caused by insulin at all).

Does anyone have any info on the diabetic tummy they can refer me to??