This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to use a Continuous Glucose Monitor, the no-fingerstick alternative to blood glucose monitoring. Known as CGMs, these wearable devices are reliable and convenient and can check your glucose levels much more often than the traditional fingerstick method.
Many users wonder if CGMs, which use sensors that attach to your skin and monitors that capture the glucose readings, are waterproof, or water-resistant. It’s an important question for people who like to swim, relax at the beach, rock sweaty workouts, or just love their daily shower.
These CGMs Are Water-Resistant
The Dexcom G6 is a three-part system consisting of a sensor, a transmitter, and a receiver. Users place the tiny sensor under the skin, usually on the abdomen. A wireless transmitter reads the glucose level and sends it to a receiver, smartphone, or other device.
According to the manufacturer, the transmitters are water-resistant, and the sensor pod is water-resistant when the transmitter is installed properly. However, the receiver is not water-resistant or waterproof, and can be damaged if moisture gets inside it.
The FreeStyle Libre 14-Day and FreeStyle Libre 2 systems, which are 2-part systems and do not use a transmitter, are described as water-resistant. The manufacturer, Abbott, says the devices will continue working as long as they are not submerged more than three feet, or kept underwater longer than 30 minutes at a time.
This means you can shower, swim, or go to the gym with confidence while you’re wearing a Dexcom G6 or a FreeStyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitor.
If you’re using a smartphone or other device in conjunction with your CGM, most phones are water-resistant, but submerging them is not recommended. Check the specifications of your particular phone model for more information.
How Can I Keep My CGM Dry?
It’s comforting to know that your CGM sensor and transmitter (if any) is water-resistant, so you can swim or shower without fear of damaging it. But some people who participate in “sweaty activities” like working out, running, or cycling, may feel that they need extra support to improve the adhesion of the sensor.
If you are concerned about keeping the sensor in place, a body adhesive or clear overlay tape can help. Just be sure nothing blocks the sensor itself, or, if you’re using Dexcom 6, the transmitter. Any extra materials should only be applied when the senor is attached, and removed when it’s time to remove the sensor (every 10 days for Dexcom and every 14 days for FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 2). You might want to check out patches, many available online, that fit over the sensor area but don’t obscure it. Besides adding protection, they can add a fun look because they come in a variety of designs and fabrics.
Here are a few tips to make sure your CGM sensor stays in place, even when your skin is damp or wet.
- Remove any cream or lotion from your skin before you insert the sensor.
- Pat the sensor area gently to dry it off after you come out of the shower or pool. Don’t rub it, especially when you’re wet.
- Some active people use an armband instead of adhesives to hold their Freestyle Libre sensor in place. Armbands are widely available and are customized to fit your device.
CGMs Make Life Easier for People with Diabetes
Athletes and active people living with diabetes love water-resistant Continuous Glucose Monitors because they get real-time glucose readings before, during, and after activity without stopping to prick their finger. This helps them know if their blood sugar is in the right range for them. If it’s low they can grab a quick snack to avoid a glucose low. Or they can adjust their medication if their blood sugar has gotten too high.
Here are a few other advantages of CGMs:
- They are covered by Medicare and most private insurance.
- They can be used by children as young as 2 years old.
- They can alert you to blood sugar highs or lows.
- You get many glucose readings in a 24-hour period – 288 with Dexcom (one every five minutes) or 1,440 with FreeStyle Libre (one every minute).
- They are compatible with most smartphones and other devices.
For more information about how CGMs work and why many people living with diabetes prefer them, check out CGM Devices: Everything You Need to Know.
More Information, Easier to Use
Exercise is one of the recommended ways for people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar. The others are a diabetes diet and medication. Water-resistant Continuous Glucose Monitors give you the information to make informed choices to keep your blood glucose levels in the safe range no matter what you’re doing! Ask your healthcare provider if a CGM is the right choice for you.
Let HCD Do the Rest
HCD carries the Dexcom G6, FreeStyle Libre 14-day, and FreeStyle Libre 2 CGMs as well as a wide range of diabetes supplies such as lancets and test strips. Our experts can coordinate with your health care professionals to help you get the products you need delivered on time every time. Supplies can be shipped right to your door, and we handle all the paperwork. Let us give you a call by entering your phone number on the bottom left of the screen. We are eager to help. Call us or enroll online today.