If you have an insulin pump, you know it’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s a serious medical device meant to keep your blood sugar levels in check and keep you safe from the dangers of high blood sugar. You wouldn’t go swimming with your insulin pump, but what about taking a bath?
Disconnecting your insulin pump for showering or bathing
Before you start, you should know how to disconnect your insulin pump for showering or bathing. If you’re using a reusable pump, it’s easy because the site is disposable, and there aren’t any tubes that need disconnecting (though it may be plugged into an outlet). When using a non-reusable pump, make sure you have all the tools on hand before beginning:
It’s also important to ensure that you reconnect your insulin pump correctly after each use to avoid errors in dosage levels. The process should look something like this:
- Ensure the insulin pump is turned off and unplugged from the wall outlet.
- Clean the area where you will insert or remove your infusion set using an alcohol swab and an antiseptic wipe.
- Insert or remove your infusion set (depending on whether you are replacing or adding one).
- Plug in and turn on your insulin pump.
- Check your blood glucose levels to ensure they are within the normal range.
- If not, adjust your insulin dosage accordingly.
- Recheck your blood glucose levels in one hour and make any necessary adjustments.
- Before attempting this procedure, ensure you are familiar with your pump’s user manual.
Keeping your pump connected for showering or bathing
Your pump should be fine. However, if you are going to shower or bathe with your insulin pump, you mustn’t leave it in the water for prolonged periods. The following steps will help keep your infusion set and insulin dry:
- Place the infusion set on a dry part of your body (such as on top of clothing). If this is uncomfortable, wear a waterproof bandage over the tubing. This will protect your skin from irritation caused by friction between clothing and the infusion set.
- Keep an eye on how much water gets into the reservoir chamber; if too much does get in there, then what happens is that when you take off your pump’s battery cover, some water may come out with it onto whatever surface or surrounding area was exposed when doing so (i.e., floor).
- If you get water in the reservoir chamber, remove your pump’s battery cover and let any excess water drain out. Please do not use a syringe to remove the water; instead, allow gravity to do its job.
Precautions for people with diabetes about warm baths and showers
While there are some precautions you can take to protect your pump, it’s best not to risk damaging it by taking baths or showers with your pump. Many pumps are water-resistant and can even be worn in the shower without much risk of damage.
However, the more time you spend in water with your pump—particularly hot water—the greater the possibility of malfunctioning or damage.
The FDA warns against using a steam room or sauna with an insulin pump because both heat sources can drastically increase temperatures around your body and cause burns on sensitive skin. The same goes for using hot tubs or pools: these activities pose too much risk because they stress you and the device itself.
When it comes to swimming with your pump, there are some precautions you can take to protect it. It’s best to avoid damaging it by taking baths or showers with your pump. Many pumps are water-resistant and can even be worn in the shower without much risk of damage.
Waterproof insulin pumps and cases?
It’s important to know if your insulin pump is waterproof. Many of the newer models are, but some older models aren’t. It also helps to know if the case you wear with your pump is waterproof. If not, ensure that you take care when in the shower or bathtub so that water does not enter the case and damage your pump.
People with diabetes can shower safely with an insulin pump, but some precautions must be taken. This article has discussed how people with diabetes can safely shower or bathe with their insulin pumps. All people with diabetes need to be aware of this information in case something happens during a bath or shower that requires emergency care.