The DexCom sensors are only FDA approved for 7 days, I routinely get 10-14 days of good use. My all-time record is 21 days! If the sensor is still working properly at the end of your first 7 days, instead of taking it out and inserting a new one, just select "stop sensor" on your receiver, wait a few minutes and then select "start sensor" on the receiver like you normally would. The receiver doesn't know that you haven't inserted a new sensor. It will just assume you did and your 2 hour calibration window begins. It's fun to outsmart the robots once in a while and save some money in the process.
In addition to that tip, here are the steps I take when I insert a sensor.
1. Gather your supplies:
|Alcohol wipe, sensor, Skin-tac wipe, receiver, transmitter.|
3. After the alcohol has dried, take the Skin-tac wipe and wipe it in a circle motion on the area you plan to insert the sensor. Make sure to leave a blank space in the middle of the circle for where the insertion needle will stick in (like a donut with a hole in the middle). You don't want the needle/wire to have to pierce through the sticky residue of the Skin-tac.
4. While the Skin-tac is drying, bend back the adhesive (it always peels in transit), peel off the stickers and place it on the skin. Smooth out the adhesive so it is against your skin. Remove the plastic handle thingy so the plunger will work.
5. Tell yourself that it won't hurt and push the plunger in. You will hear two clicks. Once the plunger is in, pull back on the round disc thing. You will hear another two clicks. This indicates that the wire has been inserted and the needle has been extracted.
6. Use the pincher things on the side of the sensor to release the plunger handle.
7. Snap in the transmitter and press "start sensor" on the receiver.
8. Take the same Skin-tac wipe and wipe it along the edges of the adhesive to really "glue" it down to your skin. This stuff is super sticky, but since I've used Skin-tac I've never had a sensor fall off. In fact, I have to use another product called Uni-Solve to get the sensor un-glued from my body.
|Finished Product: My skin is as white as the tape.|
Skin-tac is basically the equivalent of cementing something to your skin, so removing the sensor can be a bit painful. Ever since I started using Uni-Solve I no longer get a bright, red circle rash where I was wearing the sensor. I think I was ripping off the top layer of skin along with the sensor tape, but the Uni-Solve makes the sensor practically fall right off. Goodbye rash and adhesive residue!
*I'm sure Skin-tac and Uni-Solve are sold in a variety of places, but I purchase it on Amazon in boxes of 50.
Great video from Kim at www.textingmypancreas.com showing you how to insert a sensor on your arm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaN_iPP-wq8
Great video from Kerri at www.sixuntilme.com showing you her take on inserting a DexCom sensor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb-3TeVS5MQ