My name is Clemma and I am writing about my experience with the Dexcom Seven continuous glucose monitoring system. I live in Minneapolis with my young son and my not so young husband. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 11 years ago, when I was almost 21 years old. I started pumping 7 years ago, first with a Minimed 508, then an Animas IR1200, and now with the OmniPod. Friday, June 29 I hooked up to my newest constant companion, the one and only Comrade Dex...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Dexcom Seven is waterproof...sort of

"Waterproof" is one of the big selling points of the Dexcom Seven. Apparently with the 3 you have to use an extra adhesive patch every time you get wet. This seems like a pain, mostly because I know I would forget the patch any time I needed it away from home. I am like that.

After seven days of showers, the patch sticks to my skin very well. My insulin pump patch starts to pull away after a few days of showers. The Dexcom patch is still on there as tightly as ever. I haven't noticed any problems with water leaking in between the transmitter and the pod. I usually have the receiver sitting too far away to pick up signal, which means while I am in the shower I don't get readings, but my showers aren't long enough for that to be a problem.

Let's talk about swimming. The Dexcom promotions literature says you can swim. The manual says the site is waterproof to a depth of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes. Now, I guess this is fine if I'm sitting in a wading pool for a brief period, but 3 feet for 30 minutes doesn't sound like waterproof to me. If I want to swim laps for an hour, is it ok at 1.5 feet for 60 minutes? What if I play water polo? I don't, but there are diabetic people out there who do. I don't know, 3 feet for 30 minutes sounds more like water resistant, not waterproof. When I was at a pool last week with my son, I didn't get in because I was afraid of going too deep or being in too long and killing my first sensor. I don't want to run any trial and error testing, because these dang things are so expensive.

My other problem with the waterproof claim is that the manual states very clearly that the receiver is not at all waterproof. Must not moisten the receiver! OK, so what good is the waterproof transmitter when I'm swimming, or just hanging out near a pool or lake while my son plays in the water, if I have to keep the receiver too far away to receive signal? Hanging out at the edge of the pool with my son for two hours, unable to use the Dexcom because water is flying everywhere, really defeats the purpose.

My one-week conclusion is that the Seven is much improved over the original for taking showers, having a water balloon fight, or getting caught in a rainstorm - as long as the receiver stays dry. I think it falls short of the mark for swimming. I'd be too nervous about ruining the sensor, and without the receiver nearby I wouldn't have access to the trends, especially the lows that can come with exercise, which is the whole reason for having this dang thing in the first place. In summary: better, but still room to improve.


Bernard said...

Hi there

I just came across your blog moments after posting an update about the Dexcom SEVEN on mine.

Can you tell me anything about the new software? That's the part that I'm most curious about because the current software that I have is so lousy.

Why not sign up at TuDiabetes and let us know about it over there? It's a great social networking site for folks with diabetes.

And please keep sharing this information with us. It's very useful.

Bernard said...

Just another thought about the receiver not being waterproof. Have you tried using a small sandwich sized zip-loc bag? I'll bet that would help some.

Though I hear that the receiver for the SEVEN has to be a lot closer than for the current model. 2-3 feet versus about 5. Have you noticed this?

David said...

I just found your blog by way of Bernard and wanted to say welcome to the diabetes blogosphere! My wife and I run the community Diabetes Daily. We added you to our nifty blog headline aggregater.

Thanks for posting on the cgms. Elizabeth (the wife) is looking to get one and it's really helpful to hear first hand experiences. Keep it up!

Anthony said...

Hello fellow Dexer. I just started using the SEVEN and I am having great success so far. Feel free to check out my blog if you'd like.

Take care and good luck. -Anthony

Richard said...

I am the Sugardoc and I just got my own 7 which i have been trying out for the last month. At first it was an imposition having both a sensor and pump in me. my wife and I seem to have gotten used to it and the trend data is invaluable. I swim several times a week with my sensor on. After I insert it i wipe the adhesive tape with a iv prep. this prevent contact with the electrode and it penetrates the tape for a secure stick. I have had it in for 10 days and have only had to tape it on a loose area once. See if it works for you. We have some great pools around here and the exercise complements by bike riding and elliptical workouts.