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Dexcom How To's, Tips and Tricks

I am in several Diabetes Support groups on Facebook and I seem to see the same questions a million times a week, so I hope to help resolve part of that issue for some people.

How do you get a sensor to last more than a week?  At seven days your sensor will end weather you want it to or not, there is no way around this.  You can end your sensor whenever you want before the seven days or several hours beforehand if it will end at an inconvenient time.  All you do it hit Stop Sensor and then Start Sensor right afterward.  You wait the 2 hour start up time again and enter your two finger stick readings. Please keep in mind FDA approval is 7 days, so extend your sensor at your own risk.  So far I have had no issues restarting my sensors and I have been on Dexcom for almost 4 years.

How do you keep a sensor on for more than seven days?   There are a lot of methods people use to keep their sensors stuck.  I personally use Smith and Nephew Opsite Flexifix that you can buy on Amazon or with your health insurance through Edgepark Medical Supply.  Some people are having great luck with Johnson & Johnson Tough Pads and you can get them through Amazon, Walgreens and I am sure a lot of other places as well.  I do not know if they are covered by insurance as I have not used them. Also some people use tegaderm or skin tac wipes.  The wipes work great if you are not highly allergic like I am.  Here is how I tape my Dexcom down: http://typeonediabeticwarrior.blogspot.com/2015/01/diabetic-warrior-dexcom-and-opsite.html

My receiver says ??? what does that mean?  It means the sensor is sending erratic data and it is trying to straighten itself out or the sensor is near the end of its life.  I get this reading sometimes when I am nearing two weeks or past.  Dexcom customer support typically says to wait three hours to see if it comes back or you can stop the sensor and restart it.  I usually just wait it out myself.

I don't like the case my Dexcom came with where can I get a different one?  There are quite a few companies that make cases for Dexcom now.  Tallygear.com, myabetic.com, and shapeways.com are the ones that come to my mind and a quick search comes up with.

My receiver says replace sensor but it hasnt been seven days yet?   This does not ever happen to me but I read about it happening to others.  Sometimes a sensor just fails for no reason.  Call Dexcom and they will replace it if it has been less than the guaranteed seven days.

My sensor just fell off for no reason and it hasnt been seven days yet?  I am not sure if there is a correct answer to this, they are suppose to last 7 days but most people have to tape them down.  That isn't how it should be but for most it needs help staying on. Also be sure if your soap has any lotion in it to get it all off by using several alcohol wipes or a wash cloth with dish soap on it to remove any greasy/lotion residue.  Be sure to let your skin dry really well before trying to apply a sensor.

My receiver says out of range but I am not really out of range?  Sometimes it just goes out of range for no reason.  It should clear itself up within an hour.  If you are still having problems after an hour I would call customer service.  The battery in the transmitter may be going bad or low and they will help you figure out your issue.   I also hear that sometimes people who run have a problem with it going out of range because of static electricity.  I am not a runner so I cannot speak for what solves this issue but calling customer service might be a good place to start.

Related posts:
Dexcom on my skinny chicken wing arm

Diabetic Warrior Dexcom and Opsite Tutorial

Ways to carry your Dexcom or pump from Tally Gear

Please leave me your comments, it helps keep me motivated!


  1. I am trying to email you but can't...

    1. Amanda I just fixed it. It took out the one at the top and put it on the right column at the bottom.

  2. I noticed you tape your cgm to the back of your arm. I started doing it as well because I was sick of having it on my back and belly. Curious but does your arm feel like it's falling asleep because of having the chip there?

    1. Hi Bill,
      The first few weeks of having my Dexcom on my arm was an adjustment. It did feel a bit strange and I could feel it there all the time. I do not notice it there at all anymore. I use Opsite Flexifix and it is very flexible and it does not trap moisture. If it wasn't a flexible tape I think it would really bother me there a lot more. What tape are you using?

  3. I've had the same problem and used the Opsite Flexifix, but hated cutting it out. I love Dextape (found at dextape.com), similar to Opsite or Tegaderm, with a precut hole for the Dexcom CGM. It's inexpensive and easy to apply.

  4. So helpful, thank you for taking time to help us diabetics out!


Please leave me your comments, I love to hear what you have to say and helping you helps me stay motivated to blog and help others!

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