It was the last straw. Kaitlyn’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor fell off after just four days for the third time in a row! We love having Kaitlyn’s pump and CGM system, but when the sites continually fall off, it’s a complete hassle. Not only is it time-consuming to redo sites and start up new sensors, but the supplies are really expensive. We pay almost $100 for one box of sensors, and she was going through them in no time! Kaitlyn is an active girl—running track, playing on the jungle gym, riding her bike—so it doesn’t take much before the adhesive starts peeling. One accidental pull of her pump tubing when going to the bathroom is enough to make it pop right off. She also loves to take long sudsy baths, and in the summertime she’s in the pool for hours every day, so the sites really don’t have a chance to stay on for as long as they’re supposed to.
I decided that we had to find a solution, so I spent several weeks trying out every adhesive product I could find. First, I cleared out the medical tape section at the store. I bought fabric tape, plastic tape, and paper tape. These products worked for a little bit of time, but then the tape would peel up just as fast as the regular adhesive would and needed to be changed a couple times each day.
Next, I tried adhesive barrier wipes. These helped a little bit too, but only at first. Prepping Kaitlyn’s skin with the wipes helped keep the adhesive down a little bit, but then the edges would start peeling up. And applying more would not help them stick back down again.
I also tried waterproof transparent dressing patches, first as a tape over the whole sensor, and then under the sensor against the skin. I had the same problem as before—we could not go more than one day without the edges of the adhesive lifting up.
My next step was trying the liquid adhesive—the kind that comes in a bottle with a cotton swab applicator. When we used the liquid to glue down the edges of the lifting adhesive, it worked pretty well, but the amount that was needed to get it to stick irritated Kaitlyn’s skin. It was a messy process with gooey glue drips getting everywhere.
I began to think that all our experimenting wasn’t worth it! She had itchy, irritated skin and horrible black gooey marks all over her tummy. The sites still weren’t staying on as long as I wanted them to either, and I had spent quite a bit of money on tapes and adhesives. I finally turned to my type 1 social media groups for help. I read everything I could find about what solutions people had. Most of the products that people mentioned were ones that I had already tried, but a couple of comments led me to discover the best solution I could have hoped for—liquid adhesive plus transparent film roll (thank you, Internet!).
The trick with the liquid adhesive, though, is that you apply it directly to the sticky side of the site adhesive before you place it on the skin. Peel back the sticker and paint a thin layer of glue on the sticker and wait a couple minutes for it to dry. Then, apply the site as normal. This keeps the black marks to a minimum and actually helps the adhesive stay strong for a long time. The final step is to cover the site with a piece of the film roll. This tape is super thin, flexible, and strong and stays on the skin for as long as is needed. You can put it over the whole site, which is especially nice to keep sand and water out on a beach day or at the pool. You can also cut it into strips and tape down the edges of the site for a nice clean and flat look.
It’s amazing how well these two products have helped us! I hope they work just as well for you!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.