I was diagnosed with t1d about a year ago, I will be flying for the first time this Saturday. Does anyone have any tips, advice, or anything I need to know? I wear an omnipod and dexcom CGM.
Keep your meds with you. I usually pack my stuff in a larger purse. Keep extra food/candy with you, just to be on the safe side. If you’re flying to a different time zones figure out the best way with your meals/snacks. It may be wise to get a official document from your Dr. stating that you have T1D and that you need these meds–if you have time.
Monitor your blood sugar closely. There is some research showing the change in cabin pressure can cause overdosing from the pump. I, personally, have not had many issues, and I have been flying while wearing a pump for 17 years. @patel41480 is right, it sometimes helps to get a doctor’s note, and keep your meds in your carry-on. DO NOT go through the “body scan” machines. Ask TSA for an alternative screening while explaining that you wear an insulin pump. The pumps can be affected by the Scanners and X-Ray machines. You will be fine walking through a metal detector, though. Just tell the TSA agent that you are wearing an insulin pump. They are trained to handle that and screen you appropriately.
Hi @annab_0709, I would recommend that at the least, you suspend pump operations when taking off and landing. I’ve flown many times without turning off or disconnecting my pump and on a few occasions have had to treat a severe low while in the air; my pumps have all used tubing.
On my last four air flights I suspended my pump and physically disconnected and my BG levels stayed steady - it may have been just coincidence. If you van suspend and/or disconnect readily I’d recommend doing that; the old “ounce of prevention” thing.
I traveled with all my supplies in my carry-on, including three 6 oz. juice boxes, all permitted by rule for a person with T1D - the key words for TSA, “medical necessity”. before traveling, visit web sites, diabetes.org [American Diabetes Association] and print out the travel rehs and pack that page with your supplies. Specifically, print "exception 3-1-1.
I fly all the time for work. Drinking a lot of water before and during the flight helps keep B.S. levels steady. I tend to run high on flights, especially longer flights over 2 hours. When you go thru security hand the agent anything you don’t want to be scanned, like your CGM receiver and pump, you said you wear the omni so no worries on that, and ask for a hand check. They will know what that means. You can use the xray but not the full body scanner. Don’t be afraid to speak up if the TSA folks get snippy, I’ve had to raise my voice and complain on several occasions with them. And i always buy water and bring nuts, jerky and cheese sticks to bring with me on the flight.
Like the others have said, carry on everything diabetes related. (As a typical rule, I pack double the supplies I would need for the time I am gone.) I have found that the TSA agents in the US are very familiar with diabetes supplies, etc (other countries have been interesting, lol). Before I walk through a detector, I tell the agent that I am a diabetic and am wearing a pump and where it is, such as my right pocket. They will then manually scan you and wipe your hands with a cloth to check for any illegal residue. After that, you are on your way.
I have not had any trouble with my insulin pump overdosing while flying. It’s interesting to read your stories about that though.
As everyone else has said, flying while pumping is safe and easy. I’ve flown across the country, overseas, and to the Caribbean. My advice is to only reset basal times if you are going more than three time zones from home, and then only after you land. My basal rates are set to my biorhythms along with when I’m active, so when in France, I’ll be sightseeing when I’m normally getting ready for bed and I don’t need as much insulin. If you’re only going a zone or two, its not worth changing since you’re vacationing and more likely to sleep later, etc.
P.s., I wear my pump in my bra so the whole body scanner doesn’t see it, thereby skipping the whole swabbing for explosives performance. A tsa agent told me about that trick!