How to Use Abbott's FreeStyle Libre Sensor: A User's Guide and Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for a guide on how to use Abbott's FreeStyle Libre Sensor and commonly asked questions? If so, you've come to the right place. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide to using the FreeStyle Libre Sensor, including information about what it is, how to use FreeStyle Libre Sensor, and the most commonly asked questions regarding its use. Read on to learn all the essential information you need to know about the FreeStyle Libre Sensor.

What is Abbott FreeStyle Libre?

Using Freestyle Libre

Abbott FreeStyle Libre is a revolutionary glucose monitoring system that provides continuous glucose readings without the need for fingerstick tests. This sensor uses innovative technology to measure glucose levels through a small, round, and discreet sensor that is applied to the back of your upper arm. It works by continuously monitoring glucose levels in the interstitial fluid, which is the fluid between your cells, rather than directly measuring blood glucose levels.

With FreeStyle Libre, you can say goodbye to the traditional fingerstick tests and hello to more freedom and convenience. The sensor is designed to stay on your arm for up to 14 days, providing you with 24/7 glucose monitoring. And the best part is, you can easily check your glucose levels with a quick scan using either the FreeStyle Libre reader or the FreeStyle LibreLink App on your smartphone.

So how does it work? The sensor uses a small, flexible filament that is inserted just under your skin to measure glucose levels. This filament is connected to a small electronic device that stores the glucose readings. To check your glucose level, simply swipe the reader or your smartphone over the sensor. The sensor will then transmit the stored glucose readings, allowing you to see your glucose level, trends, and patterns in real-time.

One of the great benefits of FreeStyle Libre is its water-resistant design. You can wear the sensor while bathing, showering, swimming, or exercising without any worry. However, it's important to note that the sensor is not completely waterproof, so try to avoid prolonged submersion in water.

How to use FreeStyle Libre sensor?

Applying and using the FreeStyle Libre sensor is a breeze! Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Preparing to use the sensor 

Clean the back of your upper arm with an alcohol wipe and let it dry completely. Make sure the area is free of lotions, oils, or creams that may affect the adhesive.

2. Applying the sensor

Remove the sensor from its packaging and peel off the adhesive backing. Carefully place the sensor on the back of your upper arm, making sure it is centered and fully adhered to the skin. Press down gently to ensure good contact.

3. Securing the sensor

If desired, you can use an optional adhesive patch or tape to further secure the sensor. This can be helpful if you lead an active lifestyle or if you find that the sensor occasionally gets caught on clothing.

4. Activate the sensor

Once the sensor is applied, you'll need to activate it using either the FreeStyle Libre reader or the FreeStyle LibreLink App on your smartphone. Follow the instructions provided to complete the activation process.

5. Wear the sensor

The FreeStyle Libre sensor is designed to stay on your arm for up to 14 days. You can wear it 24/7, even while bathing, showering, swimming, or exercising. Just remember that while the sensor is water-resistant, it's not completely waterproof, so try to avoid prolonged submersion in water.

6. Checking your glucose levels

To check your glucose level, simply swipe the reader or your smartphone over the sensor. The stored glucose readings will be transmitted to the device, allowing you to see your glucose level, trends, and patterns in real-time. If you're unable to actively scan with your reader or phone, don't worry! The sensor can store up to 8 hours of glucose readings, which you can retrieve later.

The following video demonstrates how to apply and start FreeStyle Libre sensor:

How to set up the FreeStyle LibreLink App ?

To set up the FreeStyle LibreLink App, follow these step-by-step instructions for a seamless experience. 

  • First, make sure you have an existing email address to create an account.
  • Next, ensure your smartphone is connected to a network, either WiFi or mobile data. 
  • Download the FreeStyle LibreLink App from the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android.
  • Launch the app and create your account.
  • Enable your smartphone's NFC before scanning your sensor.
  • Finally, scan your sensor with the NFC sensor on your phone, ensuring the FreeStyle Libre App is open. Now you're ready to get started!

Scanning and reading the data on the FreeStyle Libre reader or the App 

Once you have the FreeStyle Libre sensor applied and activated, it's time to start scanning and reading the data. This is where the real magic happens! Whether you're using the FreeStyle Libre reader or the FreeStyle LibreLink App on your smartphone, checking your glucose levels has never been easier.

To check your glucose level, simply swipe the reader or your smartphone over the sensor. The stored glucose readings will be transmitted to the device, allowing you to see your glucose level, trends, and patterns in real-time. You'll get instant feedback on whether your glucose level is within your target range or if it needs some adjustment. It's like having a personal glucose coach right at your fingertips!

But what happens if you're unable to actively scan with your reader or phone for some time? Don't worry! The FreeStyle Libre sensor can store up to 8 hours of glucose readings. So even if you're in a meeting, sleeping, or simply forget to scan, you can still retrieve your glucose data later on. This means you won't have any gaps in your glucose history, giving you a more complete picture of your overall glucose management.

Watch the following video to learn how to check your glucose level readings:

Removing or replacing the sensor

You can remove or replace the sensor as the duration of the sensor lasts for up to a 14-day period, following which the automated glucose monitoring feature will stop working and the reader will no longer be able to retrieve data from the sensor.

Upon the sensor's expiration, you have the option to perform a straightforward self-removal process. Gently lift the edges of the adhesive tape and gradually detach the sensor. Certain individuals have reported success with removal during a shower using mild soapy water or by using baby oil.

Watch the following video for a visual guide on the process of sensor removal and replacement:

Who can use FreeStyle Libre?

The FreeStyle Libre sensor is designed to be used by anyone who wants to monitor their glucose levels conveniently and hassle-free. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or have been managing the condition for years, the FreeStyle Libre sensor can be a valuable tool in your glucose management journey.

One of the great things about the FreeStyle Libre sensor is its user-friendly design. You don't need to be a tech expert or have advanced medical knowledge to use it. All you have to do is apply the sensor to the back of your upper arm, activate it using the FreeStyle Libre reader or the FreeStyle LibreLink App, and you're ready to go!

FreeStyle LibreLink App and Reader

If you're worried about accuracy, rest assured that the FreeStyle Libre sensor has been proven to provide accurate glucose readings. However, it's always a good idea to compare the sensor's readings with a fingerstick test from time to time, especially if you're experiencing symptoms that don't match the sensor reading.

Benefits of using FreeStyle Libre

Using Abbott's FreeStyle Libre Sensor offers numerous benefits that can greatly enhance your glucose monitoring experience. Here are some key advantages to using FreeStyle Libre:

1. Convenience: FreeStyle Libre eliminates the need for traditional fingerstick tests, making glucose monitoring more convenient and hassle-free. You can simply swipe the reader or your smartphone over the sensor to check your glucose level in real-time.

2. Continuous monitoring: The sensor stays on your arm for up to 14 days, providing 24/7 glucose monitoring. This allows you to track your glucose levels throughout the day and night, giving you a comprehensive understanding of your patterns and trends.

3. Gap-free data: Even if you're unable to actively scan with your reader or phone, the sensor can store up to 8 hours of glucose readings. This means you won't have any gaps in your glucose history and can retrieve the data later.

4. Travel-friendly: The FreeStyle Libre sensor will not set off metal detectors at airport security, allowing you to pass through without any issues. Additionally, the sensor is water-resistant, making it perfect for showering, swimming, and exercising.

5. Customer support: If the sensor falls out or you experience any difficulties, Abbott's customer service team is available to assist you. They can provide guidance and troubleshooting tips to ensure a seamless experience with the sensor.

If experiencing any issues or problems:

If you happen to come across any errors or other problems with the sensor, reader, or app, feel free to get in touch with Abbott's Customer Service team from Monday to Friday between 08:00 - 20:00, Saturday between 09:00 - 17:00 (excluding Bank Holidays).

You can reach them at 0800 170 1177. Alternatively, you can also contact them via email at ADChelpuk@abbott.com.          

FAQs about FreeStyle Libre, including:

FAQs about FreeStyle Libre, including:

1. How often do I need to check my glucose levels with the FreeStyle Libre sensor?

The frequency of checking your glucose levels depends on your personal needs and the recommendations of your healthcare provider. However, the sensor is designed to provide continuous monitoring, so you can check your glucose levels as often as you like. Many users find it helpful to check their levels before meals, after exercise, or whenever they feel the need for more information about their glucose management.

2. What should I do if I experience a gap in data on my FreeStyle Libre sensor?

If you have a gap in data because you weren't able to actively scan with your reader or phone, don't worry. The sensor can store up to 8 hours of glucose readings, so you can retrieve the data later when you have access to your reader or app. Simply swipe your reader or smartphone over the sensor to retrieve the stored readings and view your glucose levels.

3. Can I wear the FreeStyle Libre sensor while going through airport security?

Yes! The FreeStyle Libre sensor will not set off metal detectors, so you can pass through airport security without any issues. However, it's always a good idea to inform security personnel about the sensor before going through the scanner to avoid any confusion.

4. What should I do if my FreeStyle Libre sensor falls out?

If the sensor falls out, contact Abbott's customer service team for assistance on 0800 170 1177. They can provide guidance on what to do and may be able to help troubleshoot any issues you're experiencing. Remember, they are there to support you throughout your glucose management journey.

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