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Preparing for a Wet and Wild Summer

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  5/17/2012 1:00 PM

Tags:

To date, one of the most popular blog posts here on the LOOP is the one I wrote about preventing moisture damage to your pump. I knew this was a big topic, but didn’t realize it was that big! As summer approaches and many of us spend more time at the beach or out in the sun working up a sweat, here are some more tips on moisture-filled scenarios you may encounter.

Pools and Beaches:
Some of the best parts of summer, be sure to enjoy some sunny skies and cool water with your friends and family this season. Just also be sure to plan ahead! Want to get a tan while your friends play in the pool? You can stay connected to your insulin pump making sure it is protected from the water. Medtronic pumps are water resistant (but not waterproof) so they can typically withstand an accidental splash or two. But, I like to err on the side of caution. So, I first disconnect my pump and put on my sun tan lotion (tanning lotion isn’t good for the pump). Then I wash my hands and reconnect, sit on my towel, and curl up the corner of the towel on top of my pump.

If you are planning to swim, always disconnect (just make sure that if it’s for more than 2 hours you’ve worked out a plan with your healthcare team). Store in a dry cooler along with your other diabetes supplies, or wrapped in a towel in a personal bag like a backpack or purse so that it isn’t exposed to water or high heat. Just make sure it is easy to access in case you need to bolus.

Saunas and Steam Rooms:
The sauna and steam room is normally not the first place you would think of when you think of moisture, but it is a place that is high in heat (usually over 100 degrees) and humidity (which can be up to 100%). Depending on where you are going to be, and for how long, disconnect your pump as moisture and extreme heat can be bad for both your pump and the insulin inside it. Store it in a safe place like a closed locker in the locker room or in the care of a friend close by.

Those are my tips on having a fun, wet summer while still protecting your pump from moisture – what are yours? Let me know!

Comments

Mike Hoskins

Posted on Thu May 17 02:37:46 GMT 2012

This is a great spring and summer topic, Naomi!! Thanks for sharing these tips. I've not spent as much time outdoors at the pool or beach as I did when I was younger, in my pre-pumping days. But in those times I've done that, or have gone back up to Michigan and been out on a boat most of the day, I have done exactly what you said about wrapping my pump up in a towel/shirt. Or putting it in the top of a cooler while I've gone in the water. Things you really might not think about until you get out there... So thanks for offering tips to the D-Community!!

Cassandra Gustafson

Posted on Thu May 17 14:31:22 GMT 2012

We do serious backcountry hiking, we're actually leaving in two weeks for a 20 day hiking trip in Colorado and Utah. The temperatures often exceed 104f in the sun and we hike for up to 5 hours at a time. Will this be a problem for my sons pump?

Greg Streeter

Posted on Thu May 17 14:54:04 GMT 2012

When I swim laps at the YMCA, I disconnect from the pump and put it in a zip lock bag on the bench at the end of my lane. This seems to keep the Glucose Sensor in close enough proximity to the pump so it never looses the sensor connection. Pump stays dry and all is good.

Jill Greczek

Posted on Thu May 17 16:51:28 GMT 2012

While I'm around water but not swimming, I tie/tape a plastic sandwich bag around my insulin pump (Medtronic MiniMed) to protect it from any accidental splashes or spills. The bag is clear, so I can still press the buttons on my insulin pump, but it's a little more protected.
I have also accidentally ruined a tube of test strips by leaving them in my purse while I was swimming in a pool during the Texas summer (~100F), so I recommend leaving all medical supplies in a cooler! I use a Frio water-activated cooler and it's great. I guess you could put your insulin pump in there, too, even while it's still attached, if you were going to be out in the heat for a long time or something.

Keith Carpenter

Posted on Thu May 17 18:00:04 GMT 2012

Greg, I'm glad to hear your sensor works that well for you. I discontinued use of mine because I couldn't keep a decent signal. I'd have the sensor in my thigh and my pump on my belt less than a foot away and I'd lose the connection. Plus I think it needs to be redesigned to be more of a twist on like the infusion set. The sensor sticks out like a sore thumb and is easy to catch on things and pull out. It also needs a circle of adhesive tape like the infusion set instead of the tiny wings it currently has. I'd sweat mine off in no time. I love the concept, but I'd like to see design and signal improvements.

JIM

Posted on Sat May 19 12:19:44 GMT 2012

I also couldnt use the sensor because it will fall off when i sweat in the Texas heat,Im a mechanic so its impossible for me not to sweat.Nothing Ive found will keep the sensor attached.Also,when Im near water,(rain or fishing),I keep my pump in those thin rubber gloves,rubber band around the top,or a bread tie seems to work well.

Raymond Richardson

Posted on Sun May 20 12:51:53 GMT 2012

I liked the all of the ideas but my only concern is, once you remove your transmitter and disconnect your pump from your infusion set how can you keep both set sites from peeling off once you get in the water. I've tried water tight bandages but they don't seem to work well at all.

Jessica Kelly

Posted on Tue May 22 20:35:18 GMT 2012

I'm going to a water park this summer and have no idea how to approach it. I can't disconnect for that long and I'm afraid that a sandwich bag won't keep my pump dry for the whole day. Has anyone figured out how to get around this?

Karrie Hawbaker

Posted on Wed May 23 22:22:18 GMT 2012

Hi Raymond – have you tried the Infusion Set IV3000 Transparent Dressing? It’s a clear, transparent tape with a customized ''c-shaped'' design to fit around the Quick-set, Silhouette, Sure-T, and mio infusion sets.

Also, the MiniLink® REAL-Time Transmitter is waterproof when connected with a glucose sensor. After the transmitter and sensor are connected, they form a watertight seal to a depth of 8 feet (2.4 meters) for up to 30 minutes. You can shower and swim without removing them. Though we advise you to avoid taking hot baths as this may significantly reduce the sensor’s life. To participate in water activities, you can easily disconnect from your insulin pump while keeping your CGM transmitter on (with a glucose sensor connected). The MiniLink transmitter holds 40 minutes worth of memory, so even though your system may become “out of range” (separated by a distance of more than 6 feet) CGM data can be repopulated in the insulin pump when the transmitter and insulin pump are back in range. If your system is out of range for longer than 40 minutes, be aware when you upload your device data to CareLink® Personal that there will be a “data gap” with missing information during this period of time.

Hope this helps!

Karrie Hawbaker

Posted on Wed May 23 22:25:09 GMT 2012

@ Jessica: Some of our customers keep the pump on as long as they’re not physically in the water (i.e. while waiting in line or going from one ride to the next) and have someone hold the pump for them while they’re on the ride and then reconnect afterwards. But it’s best to talk with your doctor about what’s best for you and about a backup plan if you’re going to be disconnected for more than an hour.

Naomi Kingery

Posted on Thu May 24 20:41:18 GMT 2012

Thanks for the comments and feedback, everyone! Different things will work for different people and the summer time months are a good example of that. If you have any more suggestions, I'm all ears!

@Jill, I would agree that keeping all supplies cool will help, thanks for sharing.

And @Raymond- I personally also use the Infusion Set IV3000 tape and it definitely helps keep the infusion set on while you are disconnected from the set, hoping that works out for you! There is more information on the website at www.medtronicdiabetes.com/tapetips if you want to check that out too.

Glenn Miller

Posted on Thu Jun 21 20:25:43 GMT 2012

I am going to the Outer Banks this Summer for a week at the beach. This is my first time with my insulin pump. I am concerned about getting sand in my Infusion cannula after disconnecting. Any suggestions?

Steven Zak

Posted on Sun Jun 24 16:49:14 GMT 2012

For those worried that their infusion set will come off when sweating or in the water, there are extra-sticky adhesives you can get to make the thing stick on tighter. One is Skin Tac, and another is Benzoin Compound Tincture, which I used to get at REI and is probably available even on Amazon. They would be good for resisting water and sweat

Karrie

Posted on Tue Jun 26 01:29:00 GMT 2012

Hi Glenn,

In each box of infusion sets you’ll find disconnect covers – small round pieces of plastic made to snap onto your infusion site and keep it protected while you’re disconnected from you pump. You can use these to keep the sand out and then remove the disconnect cover when you are ready to reconnect. And, if you’re still concerned, you can always put a piece of infusion set IV 3000 tape over the whole site just to be sure.

Enjoy the Outer Banks!

becky

Posted on Wed Jul 04 20:09:43 GMT 2012

I have type II diabetes and I can disconnect my pump for an hour or two. I usually swim at my mom's apartment pool and leave the pump in her apt. I didn't think about keeping it cool outside in a cooler. That's a good idea.

Jennifer Hoehn-Walsh

Posted on Tue Jul 31 23:39:15 GMT 2012

I've read some comments about sensors as well as infusions adhesives falling off...ai have rarely had issues, and i'm a swimmer all year 'round. I always make sure I use the IV preps generously immediately before I put it in. I don't know medically if that's OK, but it works for me. I also always have hospital tape w/me just in case. It works great in the water.

My only complaint is w/the sensors. I'm not a big fan of that HUGE cover....I can never get it to cover the whole thing perfectly.

Jenn
The Pump Project

Ann Baker

Posted on Sun Aug 26 03:16:24 GMT 2012

Hi pumpers! I have been pumping for almost 12 years. Love wearing the pump! I just wanted to let you know my most recent discovery in summer heat. I got one of those flexible coolers at a garage sale this year. It has 2 pockets, 1 in front which has a flap on it & 1 in back made of a netting material. I put extra supplies in the net pocket(infusion set/glucose tablets) and when I go in the water I put my pump in the front pocket with the flap. It is protected from the sun and if I need any extra supplies I have them ready. I also put my meter in the pocket as well. Goodluck!!

Mina Katsis

Posted on Tue Jan 15 22:56:06 GMT 2013

I live in Australia where it is summer now and I found the tips on this blog very helpful.

Janet Coughlin

Posted on Tue Jun 25 02:33:01 GMT 2013

I loved reding everyone's suggestions. Many questions come up in this world of managing diabetes and no one to share with. Thanks

ann philiba

Posted on Tue Jun 25 22:08:37 GMT 2013

waterparks usually sell plastic waterproof cases for u to carry your money in on the rides. i found one that was the perfect size for my paradigm!! you can wait on line then disconnect and keep ur pump with u all the time!!

Kim Detwiler

Posted on Wed Jun 26 00:48:33 GMT 2013

When I'm going to be at the beach or the pool all day, I inject a day's worth of long acting insulin (basal total only) in the morning and take my pump off. I keep it in a Ziploc bag in a cooler, and then when it's time to eat, I just reconnect and give my bolus. I would always have problems with highs later on when I just take my pump off so that I can go swimming for a while. This does seem to help and it's convenient to just hook back up when I'm ready to eat. I do use the cover that comes with my pump supplies and cover my site when I'm in the water to keep water out. I've noticed the times I didn't cover it up I would have some crazy blood sugars.

Kayaking Suzy

Posted on Wed Jun 26 14:40:03 GMT 2013

I am a kayaker and have trouble keeping my pump dry, do use the plastic sandwich bag but am wondering if anyone has found a better method.
Have a great summer.

Heathercanzoneri

Posted on Thu Dec 05 01:28:07 GMT 2013

I was looking for water proof options for my Medtronic pump
And found a case on amazon that completely water proofs the pump for water
activities. The only downside I saw was the price tag. It runs about 75$. But
if you're really into water sports( I like white water rafting n kayaking) it's probably worth the $

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