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How do I Protect my Cortisol Pump at the Beach?

The beach or lake can pose some potential hazards for your cortisol pump. Water, sand, sunscreen, and heat are known enemies of electronic devices. However, with preparation, you can safely enjoy your day at the beach!

Water

Before exposing your pump to water, check it for cracks, chips and other damage. Check the screen, the battery, cartridge and/or charging ports. Any damage could allow water into your pump.

Before you head into the water, you will want to know the IPX rating of your pump. This indicates how waterproof (or not) it is. Older, 500 and 700 series Medtronic pumps should be kept away from water. The newer 600 series Medtronic pumps are IPX8 rated and safe for at least 3m in depth (MiniMed™ 630G Insulin Pump System, medtronicdiabetes.com).

OmniPod is also IPX8 rated. Insulet states that pods are safe up to 25ft in depth. However, the PDM is not waterproof (Frequently Asked Questions, myomnipod.com) .

Tandem pumps, like t-slim, are IPX7 rated. By definition IPX7 means it is safe to be submerged for up to 1m in depth (Longman 2019). However, as the pump is only guaranteed at this rating when brand-new out of box, Tandem recommends you protect your pump from water. (Summer-Friendly Tandem Pump Features, tandemdiabetes.com)

Have extra insets (or pods). Check your inset every hour or so to make sure it is still secure. Extended exposure to sweat and water can loosen the adhesive.

Sand at the Beach

Please ensure there is absolutely no sand anywhere on you or your pump before you open any part of it.

Sand is another hazard to watch out for. Your pump has not been tested for sand. As anyone who has been to a beach knows, sand can magically manifest in unexpected places. In theory, sand should not be able to penetrate IPX7 and 8 rated pumps.

Unlike water, sand hangs around for a while. It may still be present when you go to change a cartridge/battery/charge your pump. Please ensure there is absolutely no sand anywhere on you or your pump before you open any part of it. If you are using Omnipod, it is a good idea to keep your PDM away from the sand.

Sunscreen

Spray sunscreen is known to be hazardous to pods. Use caution.

Spray sunscreen is hazardous to pods. The propellant in the spray sunscreen will crack the plastic and ruin your pod. Insulet denies this is an issue. However, there is overwhelming evidence from the diabetic community that this has long been a well known problem.

If you use an OmniPod, opt for the regular, rub on sunscreen, and use caution when spraying sunscreen on others.

Heat

Do not let your pump or OminPod PDM sit in the sun.

Like with all electronic devices, heat can damage your cortisol pump. Do not let your pump or Omnipod PDM sit in the sun. They can get hot very fast.

If you are not wearing your cortisol pump, place it in a bag out of direct sun. If you are wearing your cotisol pump and going into the water, this is less of an issue. But if you find yourself laying in the sun, place a towel or hat over the pump to protect it from overheating.

Sources

Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.myomnipod.com/podder-support/faq.

Longman, J. (2019, August 29). IPX Ratings Explained. Retrieved from https://www.audioreputation.com/ipx-ratings-explained/.

MiniMed™ 630G Insulin Pump System. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/products/minimed-630g-insulin-pump-system.

Summer-Friendly Tandem Pump Features. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tandemdiabetes.com/blog/post/general/2017/07/13/summer-friendly-tandem-pump-features.