I've been using the dexcom for over a year now and still have trouble getting them to last longer than 7 days - the reason being they always tend to begin to peel off. When I do get one to stick in place, it seems to last longer. Right now I use skin tack around the insertion site, so it just touches the adhesive patch but not the catheter (as this would screw up the sensor). This seems to help a bit but definitely isn't foolproof. Besides that I use waterproof band aids when it starts to peel (about 3 days after wearing). It's frustrating because I feel like I'm being ripped off :/
Dylan - I'm at the end of my trial week with the 7+. After 3 days, the tape was peeling badly - I knew it wouldn't last 7 AND it was very painful to have things rub it and have it continuously peeling. I used Tegaderm size 1624W 6cm x 7cm (a "transparent dressing). Cut a hole the size of the transmitter in it before removing the backing and then you can place it around the transmitter but extending past the sensor tape (my nurse friend suggested cutting back the peeled away sensor tape, but I didn't and it has worked well anyway). I did that on day 3 and this is day 8 - and it is still stuck on well. Not sure how well it will hold up to swimming, but for now it works, and I could always peel and cut the Tegaderm back to apply another layer if it doesn't hold up underwater. Also not sure how much Tegaderm costs - I got a good deal on it several years ago on ebay for something else and still have a few around. - Laura
This is a great question! The adhesive is without doubt the primary limitation to extending the life of the Dexcom sensor. Laura's idea is a good one. However, as she mentioned, it breaks down with water and if your bathing schedule is standard (ie at least once daily), this can be problematic. Interestingly, Dexcom's original system, the STS, did not have waterproof sensors. For this reason, when you bought sensors you would also buy a pack of shower covers. They are clear plastic, oval with super-strength adhesive that can withstand frequent showers, swimming and more. You don't need to cut a hole in the center, simply place one over the sensor and it creates a barrier to the sensor adhesive. The adhesive for the shower cover lasts about 6 or 7 days and thereafter, you just remove it and place another one. This should end the sensor adhesive degradation. You can buy the shower covers at Dexcom - I think you need to call and ask for them. Alternatively, you can buy a role of Opsite, which has stronger adhesive than Tegaderm. Kerri Sparling (diabetes blogger) has some information on her blog at: sixuntilme.com/.../diabetes_products. Hope this helps!
I definitely suggest the Opsite tap like for around the sensor and use of IV site prep which is sticky unlike just using alcohol