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4 FAQs About Water Activities

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  9/1/2011 12:00 AM

Tags:

We’ve been talking a lot this summer about summer vacations, repelling down waterfalls and preventing moisture damage to your pump. Today, we welcome back Amy Kellerman, a product specialist on our insulin delivery marketing team, to continue on that theme to talk about what to do with your pump and CGM for different water situations.

It’s that time of year when we all want to get out of the summer heat and go for a refreshing swim.  However, you might be wondering what you can and can’t do with your insulin pump and CGM in water situations.

While manufacturers design insulin pumps to be sturdy (Medtronic pumps are actually made from the same material as motorcycle helmets!), any durable pump can develop tiny cracks that make it susceptible to water damage. Often you can’t even see these micro-cracks, but they’re there thanks to all those little bumps and drops that come with living with your pump every day.

That’s why we make our pumps water resistant, meaning they can withstand rain or accidental splashes, but you should avoid submerging your pump in water.

So, what does that mean for your daily life? Check out answers to some of your most frequently asked questions on water activities.

What do I do with my pump when I take a shower?

Hopefully, this is your most common water activity :-).  As you probably already know, just disconnect the pump and belt out your favorite shower song without worrying about possible water damage due to micro-cracks (or trying to find a place to put your pump).

What should I do with my pump when I go swimming?

Since your Medtronic pump is splash proof, but not waterproof, you don’t want to submerge it in water. If you are going to swim, surf, snorkel or enjoy any other water activity, disconnect from your insulin pump for up to one hour and put it someplace safe. 

After all, your pump is an important, expensive and sensitive piece of medical equipment.  You don’t want to lose it at the bottom of a lake or ocean!  So, splash freely! And if you’re new to the big waves, go see our favorite California girl, Karmel Allison for some first-time surfer/pumper tips.

Of course, while you’re disconnected, be sure to test often and be prepared with both fast-acting insulin and glucose. And talk with your healthcare provider to establish a plan if you’re going to regularly disconnect for swimming or other activities.

What if I get stuck in the rain with my pump?
If you get stuck in one of those balmy August t-storms, just dry off your pump when you get inside and continue to use it normally.

What should I do with my CGM while in the water?
Once the MiniLink transmitter (the part shaped like a seashell) and sensor are connected, they form a water-tight seal to a depth of 8 feet for up to 30 minutes.  So you can shower and swim without removing them.  But you’ll want to avoid taking really hot baths or soaking in a jacuzzi, since the really hot water can reduce the sensor’s life. The Guardian® REAL-Time monitor is not waterproof so you should store it someplace safe during water activities.

Your pump or Guardian® REAL-Time monitor won’t display current CGM data if it’s out of range (beyond 6 feet). However, the MiniLink does have 40 minutes of memory that will be communicated to the pump once you’re back in range (whether or not you’re connected to the pump). If you’re away for more than 40 minutes, you will see a data gap when you upload to CareLink.
To sum it up, enjoy these last few weeks of summer! Go body surfing, enjoy the water park, jump off the high dive or do some laps – without worrying about micro-cracks or feeding your precious pump to the fishies.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems

- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

Please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.comt/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.

Comments

Karen

Posted on Fri Sep 02 04:04:05 GMT 2011

When I return to the locker room after swimming laps, my pump is screaming with a lost sensor alert. Is there a way to stop this?

Karrie

Posted on Tue Sep 06 20:56:00 GMT 2011

You may receive the Lost Sensor alarm to let you know when your insulin pump hasn’t received a signal from the MiniLink transmitter for more than 40 minutes. We know it may be a bit noisy, but it’s there to let you know that your pump and MiniLink aren’t communicating. Once you’re back in range, you can follow these steps to clear the alarm and begin receiving sensor readings. http://www.minimed.com/help/alerts/sensor-alerts/#lost-sensor.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give the HelpLine a ring.

Glenn

Posted on Tue Sep 13 01:44:12 GMT 2011

new to using the minilink real-time CGM,and getting red sores on my stomach in the shape of the minilink battery.After connecting the sensor I tape the device to my stomach.Any advice?
Glenn

Karrie

Posted on Tue Sep 13 18:34:00 GMT 2011

Sorry to hear that Glenn! I’ve forwarded this to the 24-Hour HelpLine. They’ll follow-up with you shortly to see how they can help.

Diana

Posted on Sun Jun 24 15:49:49 GMT 2012

My son uses the Silhouette infusion set. We were on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Our son went swimming in the ocean a lot. Because we didn't know that the salt water dissolved the adhesive of his set, we went through them rapidly and started running out within days. After a lot of texting with our pump trainer (love her!) we we're able to find out where to buy new supplies on the island. They did not have the Silhouette in stock so they gave us the Quick set. We didn't mind as long as we could finish our vacation. We didn't like the Quick set because it had a lot of canula kinks and No-Delivery alarms. However, the adhesive on the Quick set seemed to stay intact in the ocean which was awesome! If there is way for you to produce the Silhouette with the Quick set adhesive, that would make it the perfect infusion set for the summer and ocean fun!

Dudley

Posted on Sun Jun 24 23:43:00 GMT 2012

Why are the pumps not a little more water friendly, anyway? There are many, less important, electrical devices that are submersible and waterproof.

Tammie

Posted on Mon Jun 25 02:00:08 GMT 2012

For anyone else having the sore from the glucose monitor. Mine was an allergic reaction to the plastic. I place an iv3000 down and then insert just beside it and then when I hook up the battery part the tape is between me and the plastic. Gas worked for over two years now!

Karrie

Posted on Wed Jun 27 19:45:09 GMT 2012

Thanks for the feedback Diana! I’ll be sure to pass along to the product team.

William

Posted on Wed Sep 19 12:25:45 GMT 2012

Hello! I just got my pump in and am going to start using it in a few days. Question. What happens to the tape around the quickset if you take a shower or swim? I know to disconnect the pump but wouldn't the tape around the set get wet and come off taking the catheter (sp?) with it?

Karrie

Posted on Wed Sep 19 18:54:31 GMT 2012

William, For normal day-to-day activities like showering, the adhesive part of the infusion set and cannula typically stay in place when it becomes wet after you have disconnected your insulin pump. Once you try the pump you’ll have a better idea of how well they stick on, but if you find you want added protection for the infusion set when disconnected you might want to try additional tape like the IV3000 for infusion sets, which you can find here: http://my.medtronicdiabetes.com/ec_HomePage
(Click on Infusion Set IV3000 in the banner at the top.)

Beth B

Posted on Mon Nov 26 22:33:18 GMT 2012

My ankle and hip hurts really bad, and i want to take a nice hot bath. Will the soap and warm water hurt my infusion set?( i would obviously disconnect) Do i have to take off my infusion set and redo it after my hot bath???

Naomi

Posted on Tue Nov 27 16:57:01 GMT 2012

Beth, I’m sorry to hear you’re in pain. The warm water and soap should not harm your infusion set, but as you said, be sure to disconnect before taking a bath. One thing you might want to keep an eye on is if your infusion set is ever peeling up or becoming loose, then it is recommended to put a piece of tape over your infusion set before activities like a bath or exercise to make sure it is secure. See this tape for an example http://my.medtronicdiabetes.com/tapes--prep-wipes/infusion-set-iv3000/transparent-dressing-1. This is just optional but might help in the future. Feel better!

Mik ThunderCloud

Posted on Fri Jul 05 22:45:08 GMT 2013

I have had NO problems swimming, kayaking, canoeing, showering, etc. with my infusion sets. I always carry my pump in a waterproof "Dry Box" and hook up occassionally when dry to catch up on my insulin. The CGMS sensors are yet another story. It seems that there is simply no way to secure them effectively. Believe me, I've tried a lot of different products. It seems the only way to deal with it is waterproof tape across the sensor and link, then wear something tight to cover it. I wear compression shorts and T's. Then when you get dry, replace the tape.

My biggest problem seems to be how much I sweat! Almost nothing can stick with me through all that, especially when I am swimming or working out heavy. I try to time REAL heavy activity around set changes so it doesn't cost too much to waste a half days worth of insulin or so....

Naomi

Posted on Mon Jul 08 17:29:16 GMT 2013

Hi Mik, thanks for your comment. For information on tape tips, check out the Help & Support section of our website here: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/support/insertion-site-management/taping-methods. If you’re still having trouble after reviewing the taping methods, let me know and I’ll be happy to connect you with someone to try to help.

Jan

Posted on Fri Sep 27 23:59:36 GMT 2013

For those of you having problems keeping your sensor attached or allergic reactions to the transmitter against your skin, here's what I have come up with to keep Everything intact and functioning...I use an IV3000 patch under the transmitter and a 3M tegaderm 1624W over the sensor and transmitter to hold it in place. I've spent hours in the pool and the ocean with no problems of it coming loose or unstuck. I also sweat like a pig in the summer, going through several sets of clothes and underwear, but the sensor and transmitter stay on with no problems using the above mentioned products.

Nikki

Posted on Wed Oct 30 11:23:22 GMT 2013

The adhesive on my infusion set tends to weaken after I swim or shower. Should I use reinforcements, or is there any way to prevent this?

Naomi

Posted on Wed Oct 30 15:31:40 GMT 2013

Hi Nikki. That’s a great question! Here is a link with some key taping methods you may find helpful - http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/insertion-site-management/taping-methods. If you have any more questions, or if you’d like me to connect you with a member of my team to help with taping tips, please let me know.

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