Omnipod is the only tubeless insulin pump that boasts being waterproof, but can you wear it in the ocean? From personal experience, the short answer is yes, and no.
A few years ago, I took a beach vacation. To me, that means lots of time swimming, wading, and floating in the ocean. I went into the vacation thinking my Omnipod would be fine, but over the week, I had three different pods fail on me while in the ocean, with the shrill alarms ringing all the way back to my beach towel. Upon further investigation, I noticed that all of the pods had cracked, and seemed to fill with water. Maybe this was from rough ocean waves, or just the amount of time I spent in the water, but by the middle of the week, I needed a new plan. I needed a pump break.
Is Omnipod Waterproof?
Omnipod has an IP28 waterproof rating up to 25 feet for 60 minutes. This means it can be completely submerged in water and withstand a certain amount of water pressure for that length of time. People with diabetes can easily bathe, take a quick dip in the pool or ocean, and even get caught in the rain without having to worry about the pod. The PDM (remote that controls the pod) however, is not waterproof.
While the Omnipod is waterproof to a certain extent, there are certain water situations that may bump up against its limitations, such as:
- Scuba diving
- Free diving
- Extended time or repeated times in the ocean
If these activities are on your agenda, you may need to plan for a pump break, or a short period of time when you take multiple daily insulin injections instead of wearing your Omnipod.
Taking a Pump Break
After that first beach experience, I now take a “pump break” if I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the ocean. A pump break takes a little extra planning, so here are some tips:
- Notify your diabetes care team ahead of time that you’ll be taking a pump break
- Fill prescriptions for both long-acting and meal time insulins, and pen needles or syringes
- Ask your diabetes care team how much long-acting insulin you need to take, and when to start taking it after you remove your Omnipod
- Set reminder alarms on your phone to remind you to take your long-acting insulin at the same time every day
- Ask your diabetes care team to review your meal time insulin doses or insulin-to-carb ratios
- Check your blood sugars more often than usual, or use a continuous glucose monitor
- Time starting your next Omnipod when your long-acting insulin dose has worn off, so you don’t double dose
Omnipod insulin pumps are waterproof, but only to an extent. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the ocean, or doing activities such as scuba diving, you may need to take a pump break.
Switching back to insulin injections when you’re used to the Omnipod doing a lot of the work for you can be challenging, but it’s do-able! Talk to your diabetes care team to help plan your next pump break, and enjoy the ocean!