Airport Travel and Diabetes: You Win Some, You Lose Some
Airport travel and diabetes do not always mix flawlessly.
In fact, traveling by plane when you have diabetes can prove really challenging. Even upsetting.
My son and I have travelled extensively together, visiting many countries in his 11 years. While going through airport security with diabetes medication and accessories is not always difficult, sometimes it is. And it always comes down to a lack of awareness and education.
Recently we flew to Turkey. This particular experience sits heavy with me, and I feel the need to advocate hard after what my family had to go through.
I’ve set the story out for you in a 2-part video series.
Part 1: Diabetes Supplies and Airport Security
In this video I describe the challenging experience of explaining what a Continuous Glucose Monitor is for, and how it works, to airport security. These devices cannot be taken through an airport x-ray machine and this can cause suspicion and hostility.
You’ll hear about what happened to myself, my husband and our young son when trying to pass through airport security.
I provide some tips on preparing for travel with diabetes such as documentation from company websites and letters from your doctor explaining your equipment. I also offer some advice on dealing with airport security when things become difficult. These nuggets of wisdom may be useful to you if you are traveling with diabetes, or if you’re the parent or caretaker of a child with Type 1.
Part 2: Continuous Glucose Monitors and X-Ray Machines, Metal Detectors and Body Scanners
If you are traveling with diabetes, can you take your Continuous Glucose Monitor through airport X-rays, metal detectors or airport body scanners? Learn what the manufacturers recommend.
I talk about my son’s reaction to the upsetting experience we had with our CGM at airport security. I share some advice on how to talk to airport security officers, explain your continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump, and deal with the unfortunate lack of awareness about these vital medical supplies.
There are some important resources you can access on your next visit to the airport and I share those with you.
I also offer some other tips for traveling with Type 1 Diabetes, especially traveling with a child who has diabetes, because diabetes should not hold anyone back from travel.
You really can do this. Nobody should ever have shame or fear around having diabetes.
Diabetes Supplies and Airports – Manufacturers’ Advice
Here are the resources I mention in part 2 (below) of my video series:
- Freestyle Libre (see the question “Does this sensor require any special handling at the airport?”)
Help Us Ease the Challenges of Airport Travel and Diabetes
The DiapointME mission is to advocate for people with diabetes, and that involves sharing information and education to promote better awareness about diabetes, and the challenges that people with diabetes face every day.
By sharing this article on your social media pages, sending it to your friends, adding your comments and questions below, or adding your comments and questions on our YouTube videos (part 1 is here and part 2 is here), you can help us lessen the burden and even change someone’s life.
It is my wish today that airport security around the globe understand that children and adults with Type 1 Diabetes (and their families) who carry medical supplies that are sensitive to airport scanners not be treated guilty until proven innocent.
If you work in an airport and want to learn more, or want your staff to learn more, or learn how to empathize more with people who have medical conditions, I will gladly come and speak to anyone on this subject (find out more about hiring me to speak at your event).
You are welcome to comment here and ask questions about traveling with diabetes. We will endeavor to help you as much as we can.
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