Should you put your insulin pump through the x-ray machine? Can you wear your continuous Glucose Monitor through a full-body scanner? There are a lot of questions when you have diabetes and are flying. Thankfully, we have your answers! Here is what you need to know when you are traveling with an insulin pump or CGM
Air travel with a Dexcom® G5 or G6
The Dexcom® G5 and G6 are cleared to take through metal detectors, be hand-wanded and be worn during flights. Make sure to let the Security Officer know the sensor can’t be removed because it’s inserted under the skin.
There are a few situations to be concerned about.
NEVER put your receiver or extra sensors for the Dexcom® G5 or G6 through an x-ray machine. Ask the security personnel to do a hand-check of the items to avoid permanent damage of these devices.
According to Dexcom®, the effects of full-body scanners on CGM components have not been studied. It is therefore recommended that you do not take your Dexcom® through one.
Once you are through security and on your plane waiting for takeoff, make sure to set your app to airplane mode, keeping the bluetooth on and leave your receiver turned on.
Flying with a FreeStyle Libre
The Dream Big Travel Far blog contacted the people at FreeStyle and asked what the guidelines were for air travel with the Libre. This is what they reported.
“We recommend the user notify security personnel when going through airport security screening. the user can go through X-ray machines while wearing a sensor. We recommend the reader be powered off during a flight and not used for scanning a sensor. However, the strip port on the reader can be used to take blood glucose or ketone readings during flight. Turning on the reader with the Home Button will activate the radio. The user must turn on the reader by inserting a test strip so as to not activate the radio.”
Flying with an Omnipod
Good news for Omnipod users! You can wear the pod through the metal detector, x-ray machines and full-body scanners with no worry. The PDM can also go through the X-ray. Insulet does recommend that if you are selected for a “pat down” you disclose that you are wearing the pod.
Once you are on the plane, check your airline’s policy regarding the use of Personal Medical Electronic Devices that communicate using Bluetooth technology. If it is allowed, set your PDM to airplane mode while you are flying. You will still be able to communicate with your Pod and glucometer. The airplane mode simply turns off the PDM wi-fi connectivity.
If you are using the Omnipod DASH™ System, it is considered safe to use at atmospheric pressures typically found in airplane cabins during flight. Remember however that the atmospheric pressure in an airplane cabin can change during flight, which may affect the Pod’s insulin delivery. Always check your blood glucose frequently while flying.
Flying with a Medtronic® insulin pump
Medtronic® insulin pumps can be worn through metal detectors and be wanded. They should NOT be sent through x-ray machines however.
Medtronic® also notes that your sensor and transmitter must be removed if you are going through a full-body scanner. If you do not want to remove your sensor, you can ask to be pat down instead.
Remember that changes in air pressure cause bubbles to form in insulin, and the related expansion can cause unintentional insulin delivery. Check with your Medtronic insulin pump rep to see if you should disconnect before take-off and landing of an aircraft.
Flying with a Tandem® t:slim X2™ insulin pump
Tandem® t:slim X2™ can be worn through metal detectors and can be wanded. They should not be sent through x-ray machines.
Changes in air pressure cause bubbles to form in insulin, and the related expansion can cause unintentional insulin delivery. This is NOT a problem in the Tandem pump.
The pumping mechanism used in Tandem pumps isolates the insulin reservoir (bag) from the user line, so if bubbles are formed in the cartridge due to pressure changes, the internal bag will expand, but no insulin will be delivered to the user from the reservoir. The only volume in line with the user at any given time is the insulin in their infusion set and cartridge tubing, and the contents of the 0.3 unit Micro-Delivery chamber.
Flying with the YpsoPump insulin pump
According the YpsoPump training manual, “in aircraft with pressurized cabins you do not have to switch off the mylife YpsoPump but should disconnect the infusion™®set from your body for both take-off and landing.”
You can fly with an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor
Traveling with an insulin pump or CGM takes a bit of planning but can easily be done. Take note of the precautions we have noted above and download our complete travel guide to make sure you have everything packed and planned before you head out.
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