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Living with Diabetes

Before Taking Off – 3+1 Tips how to Handle Security Checks at Airports

1/26/2022 by mySugr

Before Taking Off – 3+1 Tips how to Handle Security Checks at Airports

Planning to travel by airplane? One of the biggest worries for persons with diabetes at the airport is handling security checks. What supplies can be taken through security? Can wearable devices like insulin pumps be worn through security checks? The best way to handle these concerns is to be prepared.

Before you take off, here’s a closer look at some of the important things you need to know to make security checkpoints at the airport easier.

1. Know What Items are Allowed Through Security

Diabetes-related medicines, equipment, and supplies are permitted through security checkpoints once they’ve been inspected. But it is important to declare your items when you go through security.

A few examples of items that you can take through airport security and onboard a plane include:

  • Insulin and insulin pens
  • Unused syringes when they’re accompanied by injectable medicines like insulin
  • Insulin pump and supplies for that pump
  • Blood glucose meters
  • Blood glucose meter strips, lancets, meter-testing solutions, and alcohol swabs
  • Urine ketone test strips
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Continuous blood sugar monitors
  • A container for sharps disposals
  • Any type of diabetes-related supplies, equipment, or medicines

2. Handling Liquids, Gels, and Insulin of Over 3.4 Ounces

One big question people with diabetes often have when flying is whether they’re allowed to have liquids, gels, or insulin that’s over 3.4 ounces. While airline passengers generally can’t bring liquids or gels in containers over 3.4 ounces through airport checkpoints, this doesn’t apply for items that are considered diabetes supplies.

Any medical liquids you have in containers over 3.4 ounces need to be removed from carry-on luggage and declared when you go through security. Don’t put them in the same bags as non-medical liquids.

Your insulin can go through x-ray machines safely. However, it’s fine to request a hand inspection if you’re concerned. Remember, don’t put insulin in checked baggage. Changes in temperature and pressure could affect insulin, so it’s best to keep it in your carry on.

3. Going Through Security with Pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors

Yes, you can travel with your continuous glucose monitors or insulin pumps. However, you do want to notify security personnel about these devices immediately. That way no one mistakes your devices for something hazardous. Don’t send insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors through x-ray machines. Keep them on your person. If you have extra devices in your bags, take them out and ask that they be hand-checked.

Although it’s usually okay to wear an insulin pump through a traditional arch metal detector, most pumps haven’t been tested with 360 full body scanners. If you’re asked to go through a 360 full body scanner, ask for a regular pat down search instead. Keep in mind, security personal may also want to swipe your device to test it, which is fine.

If at any time you feel like your rights are being denied, ask for the security control officer in charge.

4. Disability Lanyards/Cards and Medical Device Awareness Cards

In some countries, you can ask the airport for a hidden disability lanyard or card to have with you when you go through security. These items can help notify security staff that they may need some additional knowledge or assistance when you’re going through security. Medical device awareness cards are also available in some countries, such as the UK.

Have a safe flight!

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The mySugr website does not provide medical or legal advice. mySugr blog articles are not scientific articles, but intended for informational purposes only.

Medical or nutritional information on the mySugr website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a physician or health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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