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Flying With An Insulin Pump

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As a Type 1 Diabetes patient who frequently travels the world while relying on my insulin pump, I’m confident that anyone can successfully navigate the challenges of flying with this medical equipment. With proper planning and preparation, there’s no reason to let diabetes hinder your adventures. As someone who has worn an insulin pump for years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to traveling with this essential device. In this blog post, I’ll share my insights and experiences to help you prepare for your next trip, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first flight.

Make The Most of Your Packing

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When traveling with insulin pumps, it’s essential to strike a balance between packing essentials and minimizing luggage space. While it may take up some extra room, having more control over your diabetes management is well worth it. To optimize your packing, consider removing pump supplies from their packaging and tucking them into small crevices or even inside shoes for maximum efficiency.I always err on the side of caution by packing a few extra supplies than I think I’ll need. It’s far easier to have extras when you’re traveling abroad than it is to scramble to find replacements in an emergency situation.While checked bags can be a hassle, it’s worth noting that many airlines allow both a carry-on and personal item under the seat in front of you. Additionally, some carriers permit an extra small bag for medical supplies – simply ask ahead of time and you might score some extra space.As with any travel, it’s crucial to prepare for the unexpected. Keep some diabetic supplies on hand at all times, just in case your luggage gets lost or stolen. It’s also a good idea to have spares in every bag and ensure that anyone traveling with you has some supplies as well, thereby minimizing the risk of being without what you need. Being prepared is key to avoiding last-minute stress and ensuring a smooth journey.

Don’t Fret Security

Despite the anxiety that comes with navigating airport security, many individuals with insulin pumps or medical supplies face added stress. It’s essential to recall that TSA agents are equipped to handle and recognize these items daily, including those crucial for diabetics. While I personally don’t remove my pump, I do opt for a subtle adjustment – tucking in my shirt to allow the agent a clear view of it.

Keep these things in mind when flying with an insulin pump :

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When traveling with diabetes, it’s essential to prepare ahead of time to ensure a smooth journey. One crucial step is to obtain a doctor’s note, which may be requested by airport security personnel. While they might not always ask, having one readily available can prevent delays and potential issues. I keep digital copies of my prescriptions and doctor’s notes on my phone for easy access.When it comes to your insulin pump, it’s vital to avoid the X-ray scanner altogether. Instead, clearly communicate with the airport security agent that your pump is sensitive and cannot be scanned. They will manually inspect it instead. Additionally, refrain from wearing it through 360-degree scanners, opting for a pat-down instead.To keep your insulin cool during travel, consider using Frio Bags or similar products designed specifically for insulin storage. Remember that your insulin (or Glucagon) doesn’t count towards the liquid limitations, so you can still bring your favorite toiletries. According to TSA regulations, passengers with diabetes are allowed to carry insulin and other medications, including juice, even if they exceed the 100ml limit.When in doubt, always research the specific security regulations for your country of origin, as well as any countries you’ll be transiting through or visiting. For instance, if you’re traveling from the United States to Australia with a stopover in New Zealand, check the policies for all three countries to ensure a hassle-free trip. In my experience, I’ve had no issues traveling worldwide with my insulin pump, and by being prepared, you can enjoy a stress-free journey as well.

Tips for Your Flight

As you soar through the skies, remember that you have the freedom to utilize your diabetes management tools at any time they’re needed. It’s also crucial to heed the standard travel advice, including staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, packing snacks and planning ahead for in-flight meals to ensure a smooth journey.

Other Things to Consider When Flying with an Insulin Pump

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When traveling with an insulin pump, it’s essential to keep in mind the need to update the pump’s time zone setting to match the local time zone. This ensures that you receive your insulin injections at the correct intervals. While this might initially seem like a hassle, updating the pump’s time is often a simple and painless process compared to manually tracking intervals and administering insulin with pens. With a little practice, adjusting the time on your pump will become second nature, allowing you to enjoy the freedom that comes with traveling while still managing your diabetes effectively.

Beyond the initial adjustment period, flying with an insulin pump can be a breeze. As you gain more experience, you’ll find that the benefits of having an insulin pump far outweigh any minor inconveniences. And remember, there’s always valuable resources available to help you prepare for your trip, including Beyond Type 1 and my own diabetes blog posts and YouTube videos.

As you plan your next adventure, I hope this information helps you feel more confident and prepared for the journey ahead.