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If you are a person with Type I diabetes, there is a good chance you have been given a CGM or continuous glucose monitor. Two of the most popular models are the Freestyle Libre and the Freestyle Libre 2. These monitors use a sensor inserted in the back of the arm to measure your blood sugar at regular intervals. Typically, an applied sensor can stay on your arm and provide accurate readings for up to 14 days; however, they can sometimes present problems.
The manufacturer recommends being gentle while performing activities around the sensor, such as showering, dressing, or playing sports. That may be well and good for most people, but some of us like a rough and tumble life. It’s hard to be gentle when playing rugby, rafting down whitewater, or rolling with our jujitsu partner. Because we live an active lifestyle, it’s nice to have some tips and tricks to keep our CGM where it should be.
Clean Your Arm
Yeah, nasty, you heard us. Maintaining a clean adhesion site will help the adhesive for the Libre sensor form a stronger bond with the skin. While the Freestyle Libre comes with an alcohol pad for cleaning the sensor site, sometimes a single pad won’t cut it. Dirt, sweat, and debris can prevent your sensor from sticking. If you have been working or playing outside, try applying the sensor after a shower or after thoroughly washing your arm.
Break Out the Razor
This may come as a shock, but not everyone was blessed with the perfectly hairless body of a naked mole-rat. Some of us are cursed with an amount of body hair that our ancestors used to survive harsh winters. This body hair, like dirt and sweat, can prevent proper adhesion of your sensor. If your arm is on the hairier side, consider shaving the area around where you apply the Freestyle Libre sensor. Creating better contact with the skin will help keep it steady throughout the 14 days of use.
Apply Firmly and Smoothly
As simple as it sounds, this one can be easy to miss. Make sure the adhesive is pressed firmly against the skin. Try to avoid wrinkles in your skin or in the adhesive. Additionally, be sure to keep the edges flat and fully applied. Wrinkles and turned-up edges can quickly peel away as they expose the skin to water and dirt. Some recommend using a dull, flat tool, such as a spoon, to flatten the adhesive edges.
Wait to Get Wet
Many adhesives require a curing time in order to bond to surfaces properly. For your Freestyle Libre, you should avoid letting moisture interfere with the adhesive for at least one hour after you have applied the sensor. Avoiding showering and swimming is simple enough, but even sweat can interfere with proper adhesion, so wait before hitting the gym or running any marathons.
Get Some Help
Even following all of our tips, sometimes sensors just don't want to stick. Not to worry! There are some products that can help. Before applying the sensor, using an adhesive wipe like Skin Tac can help you achieve maximum adhesive strength. Using Skin Tac in combination with an adhesive tape for your Libre like Skin Grip can double your protection.
Beyond that, you can ensure that your patch stays in place with a reliable adhesive like Skin Grip adhesive patches. These ultra-strong patches can hold your sensor in space for up to two weeks. Simply peel off two tabs from the back of the patch, place the adhesive onto your skin, peel off the remaining tabs and press it firmly against your skin. You can follow the tips above before for applying the Skin Grip patches, then sit back and enjoy living fearlessly with the only patch that’s as strong as you are. Whether you like to hike, swim, bike, surf, or shower, Skin Grip is keeping things right where they need to be.