5 Common Dexcom Mistakes and How to Easily Fix Them

5 Common Dexcom Mistakes and How to Easily Fix Them

Navigating the world of diabetes management has become more insightful with the introduction of the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system. This remarkable technology offers real-time glimpses into your blood glucose levels, a game-changer for staying on top of your health. Yet, even those of us with experience can occasionally find ourselves caught in common traps that tamper with the accuracy of our readings. In this article, we're delving into five prevalent Dexcom mistakes – think of them as sneaky roadblocks – and fear not, for we're here with practical solutions to help you conquer them. Whether you're a fresh face to the Dexcom family or someone who's been around the block, these down-to-earth tips are tailor-made to ensure your CGM experience is as smooth as can be.

Mistake 1: Incorrect Dexcom Sensor Placement

If you are experiencing a Sensor Error alert and are not getting Dexcom G6 readings, it means the sensor is temporarily unable to measure the glucose OR your components are not communicating. 

Problem: Placing your sensor in an incorrect location can lead to distorted readings that fail to reflect your actual blood sugar levels. This can lead to misguided treatment decisions, potentially causing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

Solution: Sensor placement should be meticulous. Choose body areas with minimal movement and optimal blood flow, such as the abdomen, upper buttocks, or upper arms. Before insertion, cleanse the site with an alcohol wipe and ensure secure attachment. Boost sensor stability during activities by employing a skin barrier or adhesive patch.

Possible reasons of sensor error include:

  • Previous sensor session wasn’t ended and the transmitter still trying to connect to old sensor.

  • Sensor site bleeding during insertion

  • Incorrect transmitter SN entered in the display device.

  • Transmitter is beyond 90-day activation period.

  • Transmitter isn’t snapped in correctly. Transmitter tab isn’t seated under the plastic lip in the slot.

If all of the solutions above doesnt solve the problem, wait up to 3 hours while the system fixes itself. If not corrected after 3 hours, you’ll see a screen that says, "Sensor Failed". Contact Technical Support (available 24/7) by submitting a request below or call 1-844-607-8398.

Mistake 2: Calibrating at the Wrong Time

The calibration error means you recently entered a calibration blood glucose value and the sensor is having trouble calibrating.

Problem: Calibrating your Dexcom system during times of blood sugar fluctuations, such as post-meal or after exercise, can yield inaccurate readings that misguide your diabetes management decisions.

Solution: Timing is everything when it comes to calibration. Avoid calibrating during periods of rapid blood sugar changes, such as after a meal or during exercise. Optimal times include when your blood sugar is stable, like in the morning or before bedtime. Calibrate only when prompted by the Dexcom system to ensure accurate calibration values.

Tip: Ensure your hands are clean and dry before entering calibration values to prevent inaccurate readings.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Dexcom Sensor Alerts

Problem: Dismissing or overlooking Dexcom alerts for high or low blood sugar levels can potentially lead to life-threatening situations by neglecting immediate intervention needs.

Solution: Dexcom's CGM system provides valuable alerts for high and low blood sugar levels. Ignoring or dismissing these alerts can lead to dangerous situations. If you receive an alert, always double-check your blood sugar levels using a traditional blood glucose meter before taking any action. This verification step ensures you make informed decisions about insulin doses or carbohydrate intake.

Tip: Customize alert settings to ensure audibility during sleep or bustling hours.

Mistake 4: Not Hydrating Enough

Problem: Inadequate hydration adversely impacts Dexcom readings. Dehydration can cause fluctuations in interstitial fluid levels, skewing CGM measurements and rendering them unreliable.

Solution: Dehydration can impact the accuracy of your Dexcom readings. When your body is dehydrated, interstitial fluid levels can change, affecting the CGM's measurements. Stay well-hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day. Adequate hydration not only improves CGM accuracy but also supports overall health.

Tip: Set hydration reminders to ensure consistent water intake, thereby positively influencing Dexcom readings.

Mistake 5: Failing to Monitor Skin Health

Problem: Neglecting skin health could lead to discomfort and compromised sensor accuracy. Skin irritations or reactions can undermine sensor performance, hindering accurate glucose readings.

Solution: Skin health is often overlooked but plays a significant role in the accuracy and comfort of your Dexcom sensor. Regularly inspect the insertion site for signs of irritation, redness, or itching. If you notice any issues, consider rotating sensor placement to allow the skin to heal. Additionally, using skin-friendly adhesive products can reduce the risk of skin reactions.

Tip: Apply a thin layer of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to the insertion site before attaching the sensor to minimize skin irritation.


The Dexcom CGM system holds immense potential for empowering diabetes management, but pitfalls must be acknowledged and sidestepped. Incorrect sensor placement, mistimed calibrations, ignored alerts, dehydration, and disregarded skin health are potential minefields. By addressing these concerns head-on, implementing the recommended solutions and tips, you can rescue your CGM experience from turmoil. Remember, a meticulous approach and proactive care can ensure accurate blood glucose readings, leading to more effective diabetes management and a better quality of life.

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