Flying as a Diabetic
No matter how often I travel and I travel a lot! I always feel a little uncomfortable at airports carrying Insulin and Needles through security, its silly really as its in our right to do so! In this section of our Diabetic Travel Advice pages you’ll find comprehensive diabetic travel information regarding flying with diabetes. Details of how you can get a free copy of the entire diabetes travel guide can be found at the bottom of the page.
The Airport and Security
Take all your diabetic supplies and medication through security in your own carry-on luggage to avoid any confusion, but once through its advisable to share the supplies amongst your partner or friends, just in case one bag is misplaced, stolen or sat on! Don’t forget, insulin cartridges are glass and therefore breakable. This is great advice for anyone travelling with a pre-existing medical condition.
For more information on travelling with diabetes medication, whether for Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, search the words “Diabetes” or “medication” along with your airline name. It does differ from country to country and what’s standard in Europe may not be the case in Australia or the US. As comprehensive as our Diabetic Travel Advice pages are, do check before you fly. Should you encounter any problems at security, ask for the supervisor. Do not let yourself be parted from your diabetic medication due to a “jobs worth” at security! You are allowed to carry your diabetic medication on board so question any attempted so stop you, politely!
Airport Security and Diabetes Pumps
If you have an insulin pump let the security officer know that you cannot remove it because it is attached to you. You can have it inspected by a security officer in a private room if need be. But rest assured that you are not the first and will not be the last, that day, to be passing through customers with a diabetic pump or insulin pen. Its not unusual so don’t feel shy or embarrassed.
NB. Metal detectors will not harm your pump or the insulin within it.
X-rays and Insulin
It’s considered safe for your insulin to be exposed to mild x-rays when going through customs and therefore should not produce any change in the quality of your insulin. However, if you are concerned, you may have it visually inspected by a security officer in a private room instead. Security staff members are obliged to respond to such a request.
It is thought that the x-rays for checked-in luggage are much stronger than those used when going through the hand luggage check point, this is one of the reasons why insulin should not be stored in checked-in luggage. Other reasons…
A number of factors might influence your BGL whilst in flight.
I tend to be about 4 points higher whilst flying, this is due to a few of the reasons listed below. I either counteract this with extra insulin or just sit it out. Its not a nice experience to have a hypo on a plane, so I don’t put too much effort into lowering my glucose level, it depends on the length of my flight as to whether I bother.
- Different foods
- Long periods of inactivity
- Dehydration due to air conditioning
- Change in time zones
- Stress/hectic pace of travelling
Travel Guide continues on Page 2
PDF Copy of our Diabetic Travel Advice
Comments or questions are welcome.
Our Diabetic Travel Advice pages are presented to compliment your travel plans and should in no way replace the unquestionable advice and medical care given to you by your health care team, wherever you are in the World