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Tips for Preventing Moisture Damage to Your Insulin Pump

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  4/21/2011 12:00 AM

Tags:

When you think of the upcoming summer months you may think of ice cold lemonade, sun tanning at the beach, and splashing in the water to cool down. I grew up in India and then Texas, so I'm no stranger to the heat. Now that I live in L.A. I live close to the beach but since I, like many of you, wear an insulin pump that is water-tight (not water-proof), I try to do what I can to protect my pink pump, also known as my best friend.

In my role at Medtronic on the Customer Experience Excellence Team, my number one goal is to make sure customers (like me) have a good experience. One side to this is to make sure we are all proactive and educated with tips that can make living with an insulin pump easier. I sat down with the 24Hour HelpLine Team to learn about how to prevent possible moisture damage during the spring and summer months.

If you wear your insulin pump in a place where it touches your skin, make sure the buttons on the front side of the insulin pump face away from your body. If you sweat more as the heat rises, this will put your pump at risk of being exposed to moisture so it will help if you wear it in a case for extra protection. We recommend looking into water-resistant materials, which you can find at a variety of places online. We also have a couple of options in our online store. Check out our sport case and nylon case.

If possible, keep your insulin pump away from water. If you are going to swim, you can use the quick-release feature on most infusion sets to disconnect for a period of time. If you are going to be active in water activities on a regular basis, speak to your doctor about what will work best for you. If you disconnect your insulin pump, make sure you keep it in a dry and safe place that is away from possible moisture. It’s also a great idea to create awareness for your family members and friends to know that your insulin pump is not water-proof. Although it may be funny if someone pushes you in the pool, this is not a good idea with an insulin pump and your loved ones should know that.

And last but not least, we do not want to forget about your infusion set and/or glucose sensor sites. We recommend you speak with your doctor about using tapes and adhesives with your infusion set or glucose sensor sites to help keep them in place when you are more prone to sweat. There are a variety of tapes and adhesives available, so see what works best for you. Some people find that using an antiperspirant on their site prior to insertion helps the tape stick better, especially during the heat of the summer (I’ve personally never tried this but hear it actually works!).

Here’s what you do:
• Purchase a solid or spray antiperspirant without deodorant for site use only (no gels or creams). Sprays really work best—otherwise sticking can be an issue.
• Apply to chosen infusion or sensor site and allow it to soak in for 10-15 minutes.
• Cleanse site to remove residue from skin.
• Follow insertion directions as usual.
• Cleanse a solid stick with an alcohol wipe after each use.

For more information on water activities and tape tips, see the Help & Support section of our website. Once you have these tips down, enjoy your summer, and I will do the same! 

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.com/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.
 

Comments

Dr. Choo Kee

Posted on Fri Apr 22 03:08:14 GMT 2011

Wonderful information! Clear and concise. And so personal. Thank you to Medtronic for making the difference to millions!

Sandy

Posted on Tue Apr 26 15:13:18 GMT 2011

I am into kayaking. I often kayak near dolphans and mantees so there is always that risk of getting my pump wet. It hasn't happened yet, but I wish there was a water tight case for the Paradigm pumps like the waterproof, impact-resistant, hard plastic case for 50x series. Are there any plans to make such an item?

Amanda Sheldon

Posted on Wed Apr 27 21:42:00 GMT 2011

Kayaking with dolphins sounds amazing! Can we come? :-)

Yes, we do know our customers want a waterproof case for the Revel pump and we've been actively working on a solution. But because of the complexities of the product and medical device regulations, it's a bit more difficult to create a waterproof housing for an insulin pump than a camera or other piece of equipment that's not a medical device.

We are working on a solution, though, and we'll be sure to let you know when something becomes available. In the meantime, hope you found Naomi's tips helpful. Also, Karmel Alison over at Sweet Life recently blogged about how she handled a day of surfing. You might enjoy her post here: http://asweetlife.org/karmel/blogs/type-1-blogs/im-going-surfing-im-going-surfing/15729/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ASweetLife+%28A+Sweet+Life%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

If you choose to disconnect during a water activity, please visit http://www.minimed.com/help/lifestyle/life-events/index.html#temporary-disconnection-guidelines for guidelines on temporarily disconnecting from your pump.

Naomi Kingery

Posted on Thu Apr 28 18:49:10 GMT 2011

@ Dr. Choo Kee, thank you I am so glad you liked it!
@ Sandy, I've never been kayaking but did get to swim with dolphins a few years ago (I just disconnected my insulin pump and left it with my mom on the beach).

LuAnn Scanlon

Posted on Mon May 02 07:04:27 GMT 2011

My son is a lifeguard during the summer. He uses a watertight AquaPac pouch and a FRIO insulin cooling wallet (water activated gel - no refrigeration required) for his pump.

Amanda Sheldon

Posted on Tue May 03 17:34:30 GMT 2011

Thanks for the tip, LuAnn! Of course, since the products you mentioned are not made by Medtronic and have not been tested by Medtronic , we can't speak to their quality or reliability. But thanks for commenting and we hope your son is enjoying his summer lifeguarding gig!

Paul Lee

Posted on Mon Jul 11 02:04:28 GMT 2011

I appreciate the information, but if the insulin pump is accidentally submerged - and shows evidence of water within the display screen - what should be done? Initially, the "ACT" button was not functioning - now (10 minutes later) everything appears to be fine.
Should I "trust" the operation of the pump?

Amanda Sheldon

Posted on Tue Jul 12 23:11:00 GMT 2011

@Paul It would be best for you to contact the 24 Hour HelpLine at 800-646-4633 Option 1. That team is better qualified to assess any damage to your pump. Thanks!

Lacy Johnson

Posted on Thu Jun 07 00:41:42 GMT 2012

I am going on a cruise in three weeks and I am so disappointed that there is no way to waterproof the paradigm pump. After my doctor suggested that I move to shots on the days I wanted to snorkel, I started doing research... thinking surely, by now, there's got to be a way to waterproof this thing! And I've come up with nothing. I absolutely LOVE my pump and MiniMed has always been very helpful when I've had to contact them, but the fact that MiniMed has not developed a way to waterproof it is a real shame. I found this thread in my search and realized it was written in 2011, but I still wanted to share my opinion.

I did find the Aquapac, but it said you couldn't submerse your pump with it... it was only guaranteed to work when submersed for no longer than 5 seconds at max of 3 feet. Not good enough.

Someone could really make a lot of people happy (and make a lot of money!) if they developed a waterproof case for the Paradigm pump. I'm going to try to avoid going back to shots at all costs on my cruise and just try to unhook and hook back up every hour while it's off... that will be a pain, but I think it will be better than shots.

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