How long did the CGM rash take to heal?

I posted on 5th May 2013 about a CGM tape rash I had uncovered after taking off the CGM tape. I had and regularly do apply Hypafix tape if I want to get the best life out of the CGM sensor. For me it seems to improve sensor life, e.g. it stops the transmitter moving around and that in turn stops any irritation in the hole where the sensor is inserted (that sounds gross as I’m typing this but it’s true) and seems to extend the life by a few more days if not 5 or 10 more in some cases.

cgm

The rash had come about because I had problems when I inserted the sensor and the tape wasn’t sticking so I added Hypafix tape which I would usually do on day 4 or 5 of the sensor wear. I then wore the tape for 15 days as the sensor was working fine but changed the tape sometimes daily but the last 5 days I had left the tape on without changing it. After removing the tape I had found a bad rash.

Hypafix tape rash

Since then I’ve been wearing the CGM on the other arm and had another 10 day wear out of the last sensor. I had noticed my skin peeling on the original arm where I had the rash.  I was letting it get air for 10 days and was treating it with E45 Itch Relief Cream twice daily. The last few days the skin had started to peel, so dead skin had come away and the new skin had formed underneath. As my sensor on my other arm expired on day 10 I decided to try and switch back to my original arm where the rash had been and not add any hypafix tape this time.

So I inserted the sensor on my original arm where the rash had been, I had similar problems with the edge of the tape not sticking, again I’m not sure why.  This has happened on the last 4 sensors.  I seem to get better adhesion by doing it first thing in the morning before showering.  However even though the edges of the tape wasn’t sticking well I decided not to put hypafix tape on.

The photo below shows the transmitter on my original arm that had the rash. The hypafix tape I had applied over 10 days ago would have gone beyond the sensor/transmitter tape that you can see there and as you can see the skin has healed nicely. It did take 10 days for it to heal but I’m glad it did with no kind of infection.

rash-part-deux

I have heard from many CGM and pump wearers that they don’t get any rashes although I have heard from a few that say they do.  I haven’t had any kind of rash or allergic reaction in the past but I think due to the length of time I had left the tape on the skin, it failed to let it breathe properly and caused irritation and a rash.

This does highlight the dangers of what an extended sensor can do to your skin. Strangely enough the sensor hole was perfectly fine and around where the sensor and transmitter was placed, it was just the extended area of hypafix tape that had caused the rash.

If you think about it another way, skin is a living breathing product of our bodies. It sheds itself naturally but doesn’t like to be covered up constantly and certainly not for a period of 15 days at a time. So beware CGM and Pump users, I don’t have delicate skin but even with non-delicate skin you can still get a rash! Just think about the rashes babies get from nappies/diapers!

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This entry was posted in CGM, FreeStyle Navigator CGM, Living with Diabetes, Rashes / Skin Complaints. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How long did the CGM rash take to heal?

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Hypafix! I play a lot of tennis and live in a hot/humid climate (Tel Aviv). The 2.0 sensor was dislodging on the second or third day. after insertion.
    Now I use the Convacare barrier wipes before attaching the sensor, and then adhere immediately after insertion with Hypafix. Abbott has got to get their act together with the adhesive (or lack thereof). In contrast, in seven years of using Medtronic infusion sets, only one or two have disconnected on their own. Have you had any detachment issues with the 1.5 sensor?

    • DiabetesCGM says:

      Hi Don,

      I haven’t tried the Convacare barrier wipes but I’ll give them a try. Lately I seem to be getting a lot more rashes with the Hypafix tape but it might be the Metformin helping to cause these that I’m on as that can apparently cause more rashes in the body looking at the side effects.

      How are you finding the Navigator 2.0? Any major downsides over the 1.5? I’m looking to probably upgrade to the Navigator 2.0 soon as it’s just been released here in the UKs.

      I’ve had the sensor/transmitter bay come unstuck in heavy humidity or workouts but not had the sensor dislodging and popping out of the skin if that’s what you mean? I have had the transmitter come unclipped twice so I usually check now and again that it’s still clicked into place. I usually use Hypafix to keep the tape down and that’s worked well but does cause me rashes if I wear it constantly for 4-5 days.

      How long do you usually get out of your 2.0 sensors?

  2. Geir K. Edland says:

    Hi – (please appologize my english – I didnt put this thru a spellchecker)
    I have used this Product (Freestyle Navigator) for approx 10 months now. The first 5-6 months everything went well – With the usual beginners problems (how to set alarms etc). But the — out of the “blue sky” I developed a rash on my arm. Next sensor I Applied was on my other arm (I had been switching arms). And the rash came there too. After that I have a rash after 1-2 days.
    I have tried a spray (3M – Cavilon) – to no use. I have tried to put First one layer of “Opsite FlexiGrid tape/skin to no use. I tried to put two layers on top of each other – it reduced the rash a little the first time – but to no use after that. I tried to put the bracket on my belly (where I haev never had it before – and the rash was there within the second day.
    Looking at the rash it has the exact form as the bracket where the sender is Attached. Its affected area changes a little – but looking thru the tape – I can see it matches exact the spots where they have but glue to adherse the bracket to the tape.
    I did not have a rash from the start. It came after several months – and have been persistent after that. So my question to Abbot is this: What kind of glue do you use? What vile substance does the glue consist of!??
    The rash is still visible some 20-30 days after the tape has been removed.
    The CGM Product as a Whole is very useful indeed. But why does Abbot use substances that is definately not healthy for our skin! I really do fear I will be forced to abandon the Product. And that is really depressing!
    I have some Pictures that clearly demonstrate what the problem is. If I could find a way to do so.
    Hopefully someone could put up a Facebook Group to make Abbot change the materials they use!

    • DiabetesCGM says:

      Hi Geir,

      It sounds like you may be allergic to adhesive tapes? For example, plasters? If so you will need to use a protective barrier / coating between skin and the transmitter tape. I do get CGM rashes, similar to you they started after about 6 months use although I don’t get rashes from the Abbott adhesive tape, only additional tape I place on to hold transmitter onto skin.

      You can try Skintac which is a product that creates an added adhesive barrier between skin and transmitter tape, but it also helps prevent rashes. Try the following links as this may help you. The second link is a video of Skintac I made showing how affective it can be.

      http://diabetescgmblog.com/2013/09/01/skin-tac-wonders-for-sticking-cgm-tape-down/

      http://diabetescgmblog.com/2013/09/20/skintac-video-review-testing-skintac-again/

      http://diabetescgmblog.com/2013/10/04/the-verdict-is-in-skintac-does-stop-skin-rash/

      • Geir K. Edland says:

        I’m pretty shure it is not the tape. If you take a look at the picture further up, you can see that the tape itself cover a much larger area then the bracket where the transmitter is attached. I do not get the rash in the area that is covered with tape only. I don’t even get a rash from the tape covering most of the area beneat the bracket. Where the rash occurs is strictly the areas where (if you tear the whole thing off your skin) the tape and the bracket are attached to each other with glue (you can see where these area are: – it is where the bracket is most visible thru the tape – seen from the underside). The tape is made up of some material that does not completely seal off the underlying skin (semi-penetrable) – so the skin can “breathe”. And thereby some of the componens in the glue sips thru the tape plastic – and the skin below is exposed to this chemical. As I said – I have even tried to put 2 layers of a very thin tape on the skin first – and then Attached the bracket With its tape on top. And within 2 days – the rash starts (obviously when the chemicals have sippet thru all the layers. If I apply just those 2 layers of tape somewhere – without the bracket from Abbot on top – no rash occurs. So What I would very much like to see is a declaration of all the ingredients in the glue they use to attach the bracket to the tape.
        To sum up – I get a rash with the same shape as the transmitter-socket (the dark colored hardplastic) – regardless wether i Place zero, 1 or 2 layers of tape between my skin and what I beleive is the source to the problem. I did try a product I beleive is similar to Skintac (I am not shure if Skintac is available in Norway – where I live). The Product I used was by 3M, and is called Cavilon. But it did not help at all.
        Is there a way to upload pictures here – I have some that clearly show where the rash occurs, and the shape of the rash.

      • DiabetesCGM says:

        That’s strange, I’ve never had or heard of the rash being just around the transmitter bay and not the tape. Unfortunately there’s no way of posting images in comments but you could upload to a picture site like Flickr.com or other sites. Sometimes I do get an indentation of where the transmitter bay/tray has been on my arm but that disappears after about 10 minutes once removed but no rash. I do use an alcohol wipe prior to inserting a new sensor and let it to dry for about 5 minutes prior to insertion. Skintac may help you possibly if it’s definitely a rash but I’ve never inserted a sensor through the Skintac barrier as it is a very sticky barrier that you wipe onto your skin. I’m not familiar with Cavilon but Skintac is a wipe on (just like an alcohol wipe) but it leaves a protective sticky barrier on the skin, I wonder if applying this first then inserting the sensor on top of that and possibly extra tape if that would help?

        It definitely sounds like you are allergic to some kind of item whether it’s the tape or the glue. I doubt Abbott would be able to tell you all the ingredients they use in the manufacturing process, but maybe an allergy test with your doctor/hospital might be able to shed some light on whether you are allergic to anything?

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