I have had a few questions from readers on tips to keep their Abbott FreeStyle Libre from falling or being knocked off before the 14-day expiry. Here are a few tips I have been using to help keep my Libre Sensor from falling or being knocked off of the back of your arm since 2018.
Have I been successful with these tips? I will let you decided, however, I have been using Freestyle Libre for almost a year and have only had an issue with one sensor that accidentally got caught in my shirt as I was taking it off.
DISCLAIMER: These tips may not work with everyone, as we all have different skin types. However, they have worked well for me. Further, these tips do not replace the official instructions provided by Abbott and may not work for everyone. I can not be held responsible for any sensor coming off early or being damaged. Note: For convenience, I have included links to my Amazon Store where you can purchase many of the items suggested. Looking for accessories for your FreeStyle Libre – look here.
7 Tips to help keep your FreeStyle Libre Attached for 14-days
- Tip 1: Hair is our enemy, start with a blank slate
- Tip 2: Ensure the Libre sensor area is clean and dry
- Tip 3: Pre-Treat the Libre Sensor area with Skin Tac
- Tip 4: Smooth the edges with a Blunt Object
- Tip 5: Wait One Hour Before Getting it Wet
- Tip 6: Pay Attention to Lifting Edges
- Tip 7: Protect your Libre – give it a helping hand
- What to do if your Libre Sensor Falls Off Early
- Other FreeStyle Libre Resources
Tip 1: Hair is our enemy, start with a blank slate
Hair gets in-between the skin & sensor adhesive. This is where your wives or girlfriends can get a bit of pleasure and help remove the hair from a small area to ensure the Libre Sensor has skin to skin contact.
Good clean, dry, skin to skin contact is critical. Bring out the hot wax! LOL However, a razer works just as well.
Tip 2: Ensure the Libre sensor area is clean and dry
The FreeStyle Libre works best when the skin is clean, dry and oil and sweat-free by using the supplied alcohol wipes. This includes removing any residue left over from your last Libre Sensor.
If you use Skin-Tac or similar products, you can also try Skin Tac Adhesive Remover Wipes – this unique formula effectively removes even the most stubborn adhesive residue leaving the skin clean, dry, and without a greasy film.
Tip 3: Pre-treat the Libre Sensor area with Skin Tac or similar
If you are finding that your Libre Sensor is not sticking well, or causing some skin irritation pre-treat the skin with Skin Tac Adhesive Barrier Wipes barrier prep wipes to improve the adhesion of the Libre sensor to your arm. Skin Tac Adhesive Barrier Prep Wipes have two main uses: They provide a tacky surface for you to easily fix any dressings or tapes to (or our Libre), and they provide an effective barrier between your skin and those dressings.
Tip 4: Smooth the edges around you Libre with a Blunt Object
After you have applied your FreeStyle Libre, press around the edges of the Libre adhesive with a blunt object such as the end of a spoon. This will help reduce the chances of an edge starting to lift.
Special thanks to Nerdabetic for this great tip.
Tip 5: Wait one hour before getting you Libre Sensor wet
To give the adhesive the beat chance of success – try to wait at least one hour after applying a new sensor before you get it wet. That could be as simple as having a shower or going for a swim. This also includes exercise —- let’s keep sweat away from our sensors for at least an hour.
Tip 6: Pay attention to lifting edges of your Libre adhesive
You may notice that although your Libre is securely attached, there may be some minor lifting around the edges of you Libre Sensor. These little edge lifts are usually the culprit of people ”loosing” a sensor early as it is much easier for a shirt sleeve or oddly positioned door frame to get under that loose edge and OUCH – you pop it off.
It is critical that you pay attention to lifting edges of your FreeStyle Libre over the entire 14 day period.
At this point (usually around day ten), I add a protective barrier over-top of my Libre sensor. (Step 7)
Tip 7: Protect your Libre – give it a helping hand with tape
Let’s admit it, we catch, bang, or shower our Libre daily. Even the best products need TLC to last the 14 days and not fall off. Pay attention to your Libre and the edges of the adhesive (Step 6) – I firmly believe this is our responsibility as Libre users.
What to do if your Libre sensor starts to come loose or the edges around the sensor start to lift?
I typically go the simple approach and use a small piece of Kinesiology (i.e. KT Tape ) over my sensor. However, there are other products available such as Patchabetes , RockDex, or SimPatch which are designed to cover the Libre with a protective bandage.
I have also heard other FreeStyle Libre users have had great success with Tegaderm which is a transparent waterproof adhesive wound dressing; similar to what you would have over-top of an IV.
For those that choose the kinesiology tape — I recommend rounding off the edges. This will significantly increase the length of time it sticks. Secondly, trim off any loose edges as they start to come loose.
Warning: Be cautious not to pull on your Libre when removing any patch or tape!
My biggest concern with any of these products is that they adhere to both your arm and the sensor. Fortunately, I rarely need to remove the bandage from the sensor as they have lasted the remainder of my 14-day sensor lifespan. For that reason alone I would never put a patch on day one. I find my Libres stick well for the first 7-10 days before the edges start to lift up. I then throw a patch or tape over-top for the last few days to more protect that one little cover where we undoubtedly will get a shirt sleeve or door frame caught underneath.
If you do need to remove the patch or tape before you sensor has expired – I have found that slow and steady wins the race. Be sure not to tug or pull on the sensor.
Hint: Try placing a small piece of gauze between the patch and the Libre. This should help with reducing the amount of stick to the Libre and assist when changing the patch before your sensor is due to be replaced
No matter what you choose, the key is to help keep the edges of the Libre sensor secure and protected.
What to do if your Libre Sensor Falls Off Early
Contact your local Abbott Customer Service Centre if your FreeStyle Libre sensor for any of the following reasons:
- Your Sensor is routinely off by more than 20% when compared to a blood glucose test. Remember, you need to test your blood and then your Libre with a scan 10 minutes later to accommodate the lag between interstitial fluids and blood glucose
- You are getting errors when trying to read your sensor. If you have a second device, ie a phone, or the Libre Reader. Test both to help determine if it is the sensor or your reader device that is acting up.
- You knocked off your sensor
- Your sensor fell off
The FreeStyle Libre representative will discuss and let you know what replacement options, if any, are available to you.
Here are the local contact numbers for Libre Customer Service / Support:
- Canada: 1-888-205-8296
- USA: 1-855-632-8658 (available 7 days a week 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time; excluding Holidays)
- United Kingdom: 0800 170 1177 (Monday to Friday between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (excluding Bank Holidays) or ONLINE (Click here)
Other FreeStyle Libre Resources
This is just one set of helpful tips from one Libre user to another. Be sure to check out a few resources that may be helpful to you and your body type. Here are a few places to start:
- Accessories, Cases, Patches and More for the FreeStyle Libre – A list of helpful accessories for your FreeStyle Libre scanner and sensor. Patches, cases, stickers and adhesive patches and guides to help your Libre last the 14 days in style.
- Abbott FreeStyle Libre Sensor Adhesion Guide – a few very general tips from Abbott themselves to help keep the Freestyle Libre lasting the 10 to 14 days
- Freestyle Libre | Official Learning videos and Tips – Abbott, the makers of the Freestyle Libre diabetes glucose monitoring system, has released a series of education and learning videos to help us get the most out of our continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM).
As I opened – using these seven tricks, I have never lost a Libre sensor. The one and only sensors I did loose was a human error as I skipped step 6 as I knew one edge was pulling loose.
Send me your Freestyle Libre hints and tips!
I would love to hear any other hints or tricks from people. If you are a marketer, please do not provide comments, however, feel free to drop me a message on our contact page.
For convenience, I have these items and a few other options listed in our Amazon Store and our accessories for the freestyle Libre page – free two-day delivery, movies, books, music and more with Amazon Prime.