Diabetes and Traveling (espeically with Type 1 and insulin pumps)

Photo taken by SriMesh

Traveling with Diabetes

The holiday season is nearly upon us. That means traveling and eating irregularly until you reach your destination. This can become problematic for diabetics if you don’t plan ahead. In this post we’ll go over different tips and recent news for diabetics traveling this season.

Here are the TSA (Transport Security Administration) Diabetes traveler’s information

When traveling by air, remember that: security checks, long lines, and luggage restrictions can make your flight plans seem endless. A lot of that is out of your control, but here are some tips to have a safe flight:

  1. Bring your own meal/snack – bring a carry on (always a good plan anyways) and pack a small meal with you (food guidelines for flying) – Pro Tip: if you’re buying food, buy it after the security checkpoint (all of those items have been pre-screened and can be taken on the plane)
  2. Book an aisle seat / ask at the gate for an exit row seat – sitting for hours can increase the risk of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) aka blood clots in the leg. Since poor circulation can be problematic for diabetics, try to sit near the aisle so you can take regular trips to the bathroom (even if you don’t need to go). Stretch your legs and walk around every hour.
  3. Buy bottled water AFTER the security check – staying hydrated is also important, but you can’t bring more than 3oz of liquid with you. What do you do? Get it after the check, it’ll make your travel much easier
  4. Travel time – as always, get to the airport plenty of time before hand to lower your anxiety(no matter what the time of the year). Add an additional 60-90 minutes for traveling during the holidays.
  5. If you know you’re going to be stuck waiting around – walk around bit instead of sitting – you’ll burn calories too!

Photo by Jnpet

Hypoglycemia when flying? Here is the lengthy journal from the American Diabetes Association. Here is an abridge article highlighting the main points. Either way, talk to your doctor about flying if you have an insulin pump.

If this wasn’t enough to take in, here’s one more article about insulin pumps and airport security scanners. There is a possibility of the scanning devices to damage insulin pumps. Right now, the advice is to opt out of the body scan and go through a pat-down or be checked with a regular metal detector.