Is My Son Allergic to Pump Tape?


By: Martha Dennis Christiansen

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 2½ years ago at age 24. For about the past year, he has been using the MiniMed pump very successfully.

A few months ago, he appeared to develop a serious allergy to the tape that secures the set to his skin. He has tried all of the suggestions and samples from MiniMed without success in stopping the rash, itching and general destruction of his skin. He is in the process of working with an allergist at a major university medical center to solve the problem. But, following extensive skin testing, he has not shown any allergies to the various kinds of tapes.

I am wondering if any other readers have had this problem and have suggestions. He loves the pump and has good control when he is wearing it. He is currently unable to wear it because of this problem.

Martha Dennis Christiansen
Phoenix, Arizona

The following response was furnished by Terry Zierenberg, RN, CDE, education curriculum manager at Medtronic MiniMed.

Making a call to Clinical Services at Medtronic MiniMed is the right thing to do if you are challenged with infusion set, skin or site issues. Its representatives can be very helpful in providing you with suggestions and samples of tape and skin-prep products as well.

Although you may have tried my suggestions, I would like to review them with you once again just to be sure we have not missed anything.

  • Be certain to keep your infusion set in no longer than three days. Some people find it helpful to change the site more frequently.
  • Sometimes less is better. If you are using alcohol or IV Prep, try discontinuing the use of these products.
  • Avoid bathing with deodorant soap. Using a mild, fragrance-free cleansing product such as Ivory liquid body wash or Dove unscented for sensitive skin may be helpful.
  • Avoid skin lotions with fragrance at infusion sites, yet do not allow skin to become too dry. A fragrance-free lotion for sensitive skin may be necessary to stay moisturized.
  • Try different infusion sets, as some of the tapes are better tolerated than others.
  • Test different tape, skin-prep or barrier products in various combinations on your body without an infusion set and record results.
  • If you are using a Sof-set, there is a small patch of anti-microbial adhesive around the introducer needle. This may cause irritation and can be removed by pulling it off by its little tab.
  • A product called Alkare is available by calling the company at (800) 234-1779 and asking for item No. 37444. This was originally used for ostomy patients as a skin barrier and has proven to be useful for pump users as well.

These are just some of the tips available to help you successfully prevent or solve the most common problems experienced at the infusion site. “Tape Tips and Other Infusion Site Information” is available to you from Medtronic MiniMed by calling Clinical Services at (800) 826-2099.



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