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TSA Screenings Update for People with Diabetes

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  5/26/2011 12:00 AM

Tags:

Back in November, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced new airport body scanners for passengers. We know that travelling with diabetes can be a bit nerve-wracking for some (just ask Karen Graffeo or Kelly Kunik). So it’s no wonder that, six months later, airport security is still a hot topic coming into our 24-hour Helpline.

With summer/vacation season coming up, we thought now would be a good time to share our updated guidance on going through airport security with diabetes devices and supplies.

Remember, this information applies if you’re travelling within the U.S. If you’re travelling internationally, you should consult individual air carriers for international regulations. In addition, these tips are subject to change so please also check with the TSA.

Insulin Pumps, Personal CGM and Security

• You can continue to wear your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) only while going through common security systems such as an airport metal detector as it will not harm the device or trigger an alarm.

• Do not send your devices through the x-ray machine as an alternative.

• Medtronic has conducted official testing on the effects of the new full body scanners at airports with Medtronic medical devices and have found that some scanners may include x-ray. If you choose to go through an airport body scanner, you must remove your insulin pump and CGM (sensor and transmitter). Do not send your devices through the x-ray machine as an alternative. To avoid removing your devices, you may request an alternative screening process.

• Print and complete the information on an airport emergency card to carry with you.

• Notify security screeners that you have diabetes, that you are wearing an insulin pump and are carrying supplies with you.

Syringes, Supplies and Security

• In order to board with syringes and other insulin delivery devices, you must carry an insulin vial with a pharmaceutical label that clearly identifies the medication. Never store insulin in checked luggage, because it may be exposed to extreme (often freezing) temperatures, which can change its effectiveness.

• Carry your glucagon in its original, pharmaceutically labeled container.

• Boarding with lancets will be allowed as long as the lancets are capped and they are carried along with a glucose meter with the manufacturer's name embossed on the meter.

• Should you encounter difficulty when trying to pass through airport security, ask to speak with the TSA ground security commissioner.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

Please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.
 

Comments

Joseph Booker

Posted on Thu May 26 21:52:48 GMT 2011

It would be good if the TSA would establish a policy one could cite. The four times I've gone through airports recently, the screeners appeared familiar with diabetic supplies and have contradicted me when I've said they (or my pump) can not go through x-ray or body scanners.

Given how confident they were that it is fine, I'd wager a lot of people are being scanned with their pump on or having their meter x-rayed.

MariaC

Posted on Fri May 27 01:13:10 GMT 2011

Thanks for this useful information!

Paula Hayford

Posted on Wed Jun 01 19:29:23 GMT 2011

I have had to go through the scanner and then have the pump wiped with a special tissue by TSA. I have also had it go through the X ray machine. I will be better informed next time I travel.

Michael Hoskins

Posted on Sun Jun 12 06:03:47 GMT 2011

This is good to know - thanks for sharing it! I'd agree with the above commenter, that it'd be nice for TSA to have a uniform policy for everyone. I've traveled a few times since the new regulations went into place and it does seem as though they are just offering a response that "it's fine" without fully understanding - a move just to get us through the process with the actual consequences not important to them. But it's helpful for all of us PWDs to know this, to be able to contradict if need be and just be empowered enough to know the difference. Assuming, of course, we've left enough time to do so if needed before our flight leaves!

David Dellsperger

Posted on Fri Jul 01 01:49:34 GMT 2011

I believe the new pumps have the no MR on the sticker and I received a sticker to put on top of my old sticker to show that. Needless to say, any type of radiation will harm the insulin slightly and cause adverse effects. I fly out of Denver Tomorrow, hope I don't get to large of a hassle, but I doubt it'll be nice and easy

Sarah

Posted on Fri Jul 01 12:13:00 GMT 2011

I had a very bad experience in 2004, in which one screener was clearly not following policies. I said loudly that I was complying, but doing so under duress, at which point another employee (the spouse of a person who works for a pump company) said that this person would be pulled from the line immediately. I later met a TSA official, who said that in any case where you believe instructions contradict TSA policies, you should ask to speak to a supervisor. It might take time to wait for him/her, so arrive early and be able to provide documents (as noted on this site). Well-meaning TSA screeners will usually err on the side of caution, but you can follow the chain of command in order to find those who likely are better informed.

Ken Patrick

Posted on Fri Jul 01 12:51:04 GMT 2011

I use a pump, no CGM, and travel frequently. TSA policies vary by US market, apparently. My home base, Philadelphia, requires an explosives scan (handle the pump, then your hands are swabbed, and the swab tested) for explosives - not consistent in all cities I travel through. I was unaware of full-body scan issues with the pump, and will now be more careful with it.

Ann Marie Montello

Posted on Fri Jul 01 12:54:59 GMT 2011

I am learning a lot today. I have been using a pump for 28 years. Medtronic has been the best for many of those years now. My pump has never caused a problem in an airport because the metal detectors never picked it up, plus no one even saw it. Isn't that scarey? I wonder how safe we really have been before these body scanners?

Carole Donaldson

Posted on Fri Jul 01 13:25:13 GMT 2011

I've traveled several times wearing my pump. I've told the TSA staff that "I'm wearing an insulin pump" and they were very professional in their treatment of me during the body pat down. Some airports are more detailed then others but all were quick to get a same sex staff member to perform the pat down and all explained what they were going to do before they did it. They all checked the pump for contraband residue( wiping your hand and the place you touch your pump with a cloth and reading the residue). I carry-on my insulin and supplies and let them know (sometimes there are several vials in my carry-on because of the length of the trip). All of them are in the manufacturers box with the RX label. Never had a problem. The only down side is when you identify that you have a pump they put you in a plastic transparent "room" until the body inspector arrives and you are on display and viewed by other passengers as if you did something wrong.

Alyne

Posted on Fri Jul 01 13:39:49 GMT 2011

I have sent my pump through the xray a few times...should I be worried that I have harmed it (it's been awhile since I flew and the pump seems fine). I always thought the pump set off the alarm and then you have to deal with being pulled aside. Next time I will leave it on.

What if you insulin doesn't have a prescription label? I get bottles from my doctor through a program with Lilly and they are just regular boxes.

Dilys Johnson

Posted on Fri Jul 01 13:53:07 GMT 2011

I am very disappointed that there is no new card to carry for those of us using just an insulin pump that explains the risks of going through the body scans at airports. There is one that is very specific about the CGM systems which is useful for anyone using such a system. I recently travelled from England and had a terrible time going through security. There was no choice and I was asked to remove my pump or NOT FLY! The American airports are very savvy about insulin pumps and usually give the option for a "pat down" without having to remove the pump. An official looking piece of information that references the risk of going through a body scanner may have helped me in that situation - but the one I have that mentions x-ray machines but not the new scanners, held no sway with the English airport authorities who are not used to insulin pumps. I wonder if Medtronic would consider making a new security document that covers these issues (covering pumps ONLY - not CGM's which confuses the issue) in order that travelers would not be forced to disconnect their pumps - which for me resulted in high and uncontrolled glucose levels not only because of the removal of the pump but also because of the lack of information that I was able to give the airport security and I was then very upset. Had I been travelling somewhere else in Europe where there may have been a language barrier I'm not sure what would have happened.
Despite the difficulties there was no way I would ever have gone through the scanner without disconnecting my pump and no way my pump would ever have been exposed to the x-ray machines either - but even the medical profession are very badly informed about that - especially the people who actually operate the x-ray machines!

Michael Taradash

Posted on Fri Jul 01 14:15:09 GMT 2011

I spend alot of time traveling I have found that it is difficult with some of the airports with the TSA.

While traveling I remove my CGM before I fly and I hand the pump portion to the offical and stress that the this equipment can not be x-rayed. One Offical told be can Be X-rayed and I said if he dose pass it thru the X-Rays it He Can pay the full cost of replacement in which I have them hold it while I go throw the body screener. This has stopped the invasive body seach and hassle but it Is still a problem. We need to have Medtronics put a label on it stating that x-rays and body scanners can cause damage to the device, and have something That says the device is TSA approved and cannot be X-rayed on the device this will help everyone in the future.

Judy Schmader

Posted on Fri Jul 01 19:10:00 GMT 2011

I had the full pat down and she ran scanner over my pump.

Karrie

Posted on Fri Jul 01 19:16:00 GMT 2011

Wow - I guess this is a popular topic!

@Alyne Glad to hear your pump is still working fine. Please don't put it through the x-ray going forward. And if you ever have an issue with your pump, be sure to call the 24-Hour HelpLine at 1-800-646-4633.

Good question about the insulin - ADA has a section on insulin in its air travel fact sheet found here http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/know-your-rights/public-accommodations/fact-sheet-tsa-12-2010.pdf (see page 2 for info about the Rx)

@Dilys Here's the new airport emergency card, which has the info about the body scanners http://www.minimed.com/sfc/servlet.shepherd/version/download/068C0000000IX9N

Hope this helps and safe travels everyone!

Wendy Connelly

Posted on Sat Jul 02 14:25:49 GMT 2011

Recently I was at the Charlotte airport where the TSA assured me that I could go through the X-Ray scanner. I said NO and that I was Diabetic and wearing a pump which could not be subject to x-ray. They told me that I was incorrect. My question is why are they not trained properly as to the kind of medical equipment which is out in the market place today. Maybe some of the people who work for Medtronics should inform the officals of the TSA so there would be less confusion. I love my pump and have been on it for the last 8 years. I guess I will have to be subjected to full body searches because I WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE X-RAY SCANNER.

ann

Posted on Sat Jul 02 18:10:18 GMT 2011

I will be flying later this month with my kids. I have no interest in being touched inappropriately by TSA officials. There is no possible reason I should be subjected to pat-down. I'm completely innocent. This is a huge issue for me. How do I get through security with a MM pump and CGMS without triggering an overly-intrusive pat-down? I have always just disconnected my pump and sent it through the machine with my cell phone (I've done this for many years, although I haven't flown in the last year). What specifically will happen to my CGMS if it goes through a full-body scan? I can't imagine having to take a sensor out to go through a scan. They're not exactly the sort of thing that can simply be reconnected. There is NO WAY I would consider skipping the full-body scan in favor of being enclosed in a plastic box for an intrusive pat-down. Any suggestions for strategies to avoid being touched would help. What happens if I remove my pump and ask them to examine it without xrays and then walk through a metal detector or stand in a full-body scanner. Will I be strip-searched? How are they supposed to examine it if they can't xray it?

Karrie

Posted on Sat Jul 02 22:00:00 GMT 2011

Hmm…we're not sure about the effect of radiation on insulin. Best to check the Rx info on your insulin, folks.

Pat Slattery

Posted on Tue Jul 05 16:58:25 GMT 2011

I carefully read my manual, Insulin Pump User Guide, by Medtronic. On p. 8 is states, "The Paradigm pump is designed to withstand common electromagnetic interference, including airport security systems...." I have walked through at least 4 times wearing my pump, but not the sensor (as instructed in the manual). I am traveling again soon, and from the above notes, I am now nervous about walking through. What has changed?

Karrie

Posted on Tue Jul 05 21:30:00 GMT 2011

We know this can be frustrating and confusing, which is why we made sure to conduct official testing and try to get the word out about airport security with diabetes devices and supplies (especially around this time of year when people tend to travel more than usual).

Just to reiterate, the pump can go through common electromagnetic security systems such as the airport metal detectors (as stated in the user guide). However, the pump should not go through the x-ray machine or the new body scanners that were introduced back in December, since our testing revealed that some of these new machines may contain x-ray.

Jessica

Posted on Wed Jul 06 05:43:02 GMT 2011

It frustrates me to no end that I have NO CHOICE in being groped every time I travel. In order to travel with my insulin pump, I am given a full pat-down (which I find demeaning and offensive), had my pump and hands swabbed for explosives, had my carry on items torn apart and swabbed dozens of times for explosives, and been delayed enough that I have almost missed my flight in spite of leaving lots of time for this fiasco. I find it outrageous that as a diabetic I am automatically treated like a criminal. TSA states: “If you are concerned or uncomfortable about going through the walk-through metal detector with your insulin pump, notify the Security Officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and would like a full-body pat-down and a visual inspection of your pump instead." I DON'T WANT a pat down! I wish there was a way to just have them look at your pump and let you go through the metal detector. I was putting my pump through the X-ray instead of wearing it (taking it off for 5 minutes) but now I see that is not recommended. SO I am back to having no choice but to be groped (and yes I use that word deliberately because that is what it feels like) every time I travel. I love my pump but I hate this treatment.

Anita

Posted on Fri Jul 22 17:59:08 GMT 2011

Sounds like a hassle, but in the big picture, I'd rather have to be patted down to get through security than to give terrorists an opportunity to make insulin pump shaped bombs and blow up my airplane.

IJ

Posted on Sat Jul 23 21:36:47 GMT 2011

Flew to the Dominican Republic w/ my husband in December - totally missed our first flight due to TSA screening hold up @ a small airport - related to the pump issue (luckily have a relative who chartered us to a major city so we could still make our other flights). It was a total fiasco - was in screening for 45 minutes or so, and the screeners acted as if they had never seen an insulin pump or sensor. Just flew to the gulf coast, then to Hawaii w/ whole family, and no problems at all - informed TSA screeners each time, it just was handled differently. Sometimes my pump and sensor alarm through the metal detector, and sometimes they don't. The incident in December taught me to arrive at least 2 hours before ANY flight (domestic or international), to accomodate for incompetence on the part of some screeners. I have found that the smaller the airport, the bigger the hassle. It seems as if the some TSA screeners have never even been briefed about medical equipment, and it totally throws them for a loop, which often results in problems for diabetic travelers. Not fun, but at least now I know to plan to be there earlier to compensate for the ignorance.

Rebecca Wofford

Posted on Sat Sep 24 02:53:59 GMT 2011

THE 2ND LINK BELOW WON'T WORK. HOW CAN I GET THAT AIRPORT EMERGENCY CARD?

Posted on Fri Jul 01 19:16:00 GMT 2011

Wow - I guess this is a popular topic!

@Alyne Glad to hear your pump is still working fine. Please don't put it through the x-ray going forward. And if you ever have an issue with your pump, be sure to call the 24-Hour HelpLine at 1-800-646-4633.

Good question about the insulin - ADA has a section on insulin in its air travel fact sheet found here http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/know-your-rights/public-accommodations/fact-sheet-tsa-12-2010.pdf (see page 2 for info about the Rx)

@Dilys Here's the new airport emergency card, which has the info about the body scanners http://www.minimed.com/pdf/x23_airport_card.pdf

Hope this helps and safe travels everyone!

Karrie

Posted on Mon Sep 26 23:55:31 GMT 2011

Oops! Sorry about that – the link should be working now.

Linda Fuller

Posted on Thu Nov 24 20:20:57 GMT 2011

Is there anyone working on a solution to be able to send the pump through the X-ray at the air port?

Antonio De Luca

Posted on Wed Dec 21 23:37:36 GMT 2011

I agree with all of you that have mentioned the need of some formal, technical document to explain TSA the issue of going thru full body scanners. Several weeks ago while going thru security and not knowing any better I went thru a full body scanner after arguing with the TSA person, he reiterated that the scanner would not damage the pump, later on talking with Medtronic I was told not to go thru it, which leaves me with the pat down, which I find despicable.

Linda Huber

Posted on Tue May 08 02:10:22 GMT 2012

I have been subjected to all kinds of incompetence of the TSA. The first time last year with my new pump, I was told I would need a total body pat down.....OK I'm a RN, no big deal. WELL when the female subjecting me to the pat down said " And now I will put my hands on your inner thigh and go up until I meet resistance" I almost threw up. And last week coming home from DC my gel refridge wrap to keep my insulin cold was confiscated as it was not frozen, only cold. Since I had been staying in a hotel for 5 days and the fridge did not freeze, my container was not frozen enough for TSA. I just paid $150.00 for my last fill of insulin, and now I have no way to keep it cold on the way back to MN. I also have had major problems with TSA in MSP, and to think this is the headquarters of Medtronics. Maybe some education from Medtronics to TSA would help??? I am an advance practice RN, my frustrations are immense, and I fly again this Friday, I'll just keep reciting the Serenity Prayer.

Bruce

Posted on Sun May 27 17:52:22 GMT 2012

@Karrie

I've been using the pump with the CGM for about a year now. The CGM is tremendously helpful, and the integration with the pump is the reason I gave up syringes despite the fact that syringes are much more convenient for traveling. Kudos to the engineers and scientists who developed the CGM and integrated it with the pump.

There's absolutely no reason that an insulin pump and CGM transmitter cannot be hardened against electromagnetic radiation found in airport security systems at a reasonable cost. Cell phones and computers can handle it. Please ask if the next version of the Paradigm pump and transmitter will be compatible with the security systems and let us know.

The TSA uses two types of full body scanners, an x-ray backscatter scanner and a millimeter wave scanner. These systems use radiation at pretty much the opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum, just because one is harmful doesn't mean the other is. Can Medtronic determine if the millimeter wave scanner is safe and let us know.

Thanks

Chris

Posted on Thu Jun 21 16:52:20 GMT 2012

Hello, my wife has a Medtronic CGM + insulin pump. We both travel frequently within the US and internationally. It would really help if we could show confused airport security people some kind of document that's been translated, that explains what the CGM and pump are, and what type of machine they may go through. We still haven't found any cohesive explanation from Medtronic as to what scanning technologies are safe, and what aren't. If X-rays are damaging, this means we cannot ever put things like CGM sensors into checked baggage, or carryon that goes through the scanner. Also, there are two primary types of full-body scanners- millimeter wave and X-ray backscatter. Which of these two are safe? Almost every time we travel we get held up for an hour or more due to an uneducated and/or confused security people. Please help! Thanks.

Karrie

Posted on Thu Jun 28 21:01:56 GMT 2012

Hi Chris,

We have an Airport Emergency Card form available on our Website http://www.medtronicdiabetes.net/support/download-library that you can print, fill out and carry with you to explain to transportation security professionals about your medical devices. It also has space where you can fill in the name and number of your healthcare provider and emergency contact. Also, for clarification, we recommend that you do not expose your pump to x-ray. And testing revealed that some of the new body scanners may contain x-ray, which is why we recommend you not take your pump through the body scanners. Hope this helps!

Jill Boyle

Posted on Sat Sep 01 16:34:26 GMT 2012

Travelling in most US airports is annoying with the TSA for insulin pump and CGM patients,but at least most of them will comply with not putting pumps or loaner pumps through the Xray. I just had a horrible experience in the Copenhagen airport where the security guy was a total nut case-laughed at me,refused my request for a visual inspection of the pump and for a swab,etc.- and forced me to put my loaner pump through the X-ray machine despite a doctors letter and the Medtronic sheet stating it could not be done.I was told I had to have written permission from the airport to opt out-what a joke.I have sent scorching emails to the airport and have put them on notice that if the loaner pump is damaged I will seek legal action for them to pay for it. At least I wasn't made to go through the scanner-they don't seem to have them there,thank God,but now I don't know if I can ever travel internationally again when there is such blatant disregard of passengers with legitimate medical issues.

Gerald Ward

Posted on Fri May 17 02:12:41 GMT 2013

I haven't flown since I received my pump and never will!

Edward Saunders

Posted on Fri May 17 19:14:21 GMT 2013

I've had a insulin pump for 28 yrs and have flown a lot. Most of this was before TSA came to be. The last time I flew was out Anchorage, AK in 09' and Anchorage being a International airport the screening was pretty intense. Not as bad as some of the stories I've been hearing on the news lately. The screener was pretty cool about my insulin pump as he had dealt with them before. Altho I was taken into a bullet proof cubicle between the scanners because I carry inside myself a rather large amount of metal so a individual scan was needed to verify where the metal was and of course determine that it was indeed in me and was not removable. During the whole process the scanner guy had me hold my pump in the hand on the side of my body it was located on and he scanned around it. If you get lucky enough to get a scanner person who is familiar with medical devices screening will go much easier. On the other hand if you get someone who is not familiar with insulin pumps it can turn into a nightmare. If necessary, I removed my pump and did not allow anyone to touch it due to diseases and germs at airports. I made a scanner change into a fresh pair of gloves, in my sight so they could examine my pump first hand but my rules applied and it went pretty well other than the "IDIOT who didn't have a clue about much of nothing. At that point I immediately called for his "supervisor" so's I could get a clear picture of what the first guy was "saying"!
Use common sense and avoid getting upset as it will only make your life more difficult. One cool head is better than two hot heads. If you have the cool head you will win all the time.

Terry

Posted on Mon May 20 11:43:05 GMT 2013

Wow I had no idea about the insulin pump and the body scanner at the airport. Not an advide flyer, I flew out of Melbourne Airport a month ago went through the body scanner with my insulin pump. So does this do damage to the Insulin Pump??? Because I am noticing some problems and really should know if I need to look into this and contact Medtronic!

Karrie

Posted on Mon May 20 15:52:07 GMT 2013

Terry – Glad you found the info helpful. I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems with your pump. Someone from our team will be in touch with you soon to help you troubleshoot.

Dave

Posted on Tue Jun 25 03:14:37 GMT 2013

I can't tell you how many times a TSA agent has told me it's ok to go thru the scanner with the pump on. I insist they read my card and they give in. Lately though, I've been taking it off, handing it to them and they do the explosive scan. So, it sounds like I can go through the standard metal detector, but not the body scan or x-ray.

Naomi

Posted on Tue Jun 25 16:21:49 GMT 2013

Dave, you’re correct. You may pass through a standard metal detector with your insulin pump, but you should disconnect from it to pass through the body scanner or x-ray. For all of the information you need for traveling and airport security, check out our website: www.medtronicdiabetes.com/travel.

Ray

Posted on Tue Jun 25 17:29:39 GMT 2013

I've ran my pump thru the x-ray dozens of times as I travel continuously. I didn't see any technical reason listed here why this is bad for the pump. It certainly isn't bad for the phones, computers, tablets or multiple other electronics we carry around. i would expect pump makers to be able to get their units to absorb xrays just like all other electronics without an issue.

Karrie

Posted on Tue Jun 25 21:31:34 GMT 2013

Ray, the reason that we recommend that you do not expose your insulin pump to X-rays, MRI equipment, or other devices that generate very strong magnetic fields, is because they can damage the pump’s motor. This recommendation is for your safety. If you have any questions, please feel free to email our team at dhelp@medtronic.com.

Louise

Posted on Tue Jun 25 23:11:53 GMT 2013

I've received my travel loaner pump for my upcoming Baltic Sea cruise. I've always insisted on a pat-down rather than submit to the body scanners at airports (despite TSA insisting that theirs was safe). I will be wearing my pump for the pat-down by TSA but what do I do with the travel loaner pump since it is a back-up pump. I suspect I should carry it on me as well for the pat-down since I don't want to subject it to the x-ray or body scanner. Is there another way to handle this? (Sorry if this seems like a stupid question....)

Naomi

Posted on Wed Jun 26 00:15:45 GMT 2013

Louise, this is actually a great question! In order to not expose the travel loaner pump to an X-ray, I recommend carrying it on you for the pat-down. I would also advise visiting the travel section of our website: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/lifestyle/travel for additional information and to download/print an airport information card in case you get any questions from TSA about your device.

Diane

Posted on Wed Jun 26 16:36:54 GMT 2013

I had traveled often with insulin, syringes,testing supplyies, snacks ect, never any problems. I started using a pump, and had issues at many airports. I gave up the pump and went back to my old method of 40 years, Much better for me.

Pat Dalrymple

Posted on Sat Jul 06 14:58:17 GMT 2013

I'm glad to see all these posts. I actually have given in to going through the full body scanners (every airport I've been in lately only uses these now) with my pump on because when I ask, all the TSA people say "IT'S OK". If it is NOT OK, I would appreciate someone in authority educating their agents. I actually became scared the first time I questioned one of the agents because he told me if I have a cell phone, then carrying my cell phone near my phone would do more damage than their machines. Is this accurate? I was alone and afraid to confront him because I wasn't sure if they would haul me away. No one else around him spoke up for me, although I saw other agents glancing at me and then looking away.

It should not be up to us to have to assert ourselves. The company should be working with TSA to ensure that TSA knows how to handle these situations and not make us feel like we have to insist that we be allowed to take the pump off before going through the scanner.

Naomi

Posted on Mon Jul 08 18:03:45 GMT 2013

Pat, thank you for your feedback. As a reminder, you should not take your pump through the new body scanners or put it on the belt to go through the x-ray. Some of the new scanners may include x-ray which can damage the pumps motor. This is different technology than a cell phone. To avoid removing your devices, you may request an alternative screening process (i.e. pat-down). If you choose to go through a full body scanner, you must remove your insulin pump and CGM (sensor and transmitter). Do not send your devices through the x-ray machine as an alternative. We do have an airport emergency card that you can download, print and bring with you to the airport to help explain your devices to airport officials. You can download it here http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/lifestyle/travel#sthash.7GaVtIo6.dpuf.

Arlene

Posted on Sun Aug 25 21:13:39 GMT 2013

I opt for a pat-down when the regular metal detectors are not available and I do not request privacy. So far the pat-downs have not been intrusive. I do send my backup pump through the x-ray but as suggested by a MM trainer I remove the battery. Does that make a difference or should I insist on carrying my backup?

Naomi

Posted on Mon Aug 26 15:43:54 GMT 2013

Arlene, that's good to hear that you opt for the pat down and have had good travel experiences. We recommend that you carry your back up insulin pump with you during your alternate screening process as you shouldn't put your back up pump on the belt to go through the xray.

Jim

Posted on Tue Sep 24 20:45:13 GMT 2013

I'll be flying next week for the first time with a pump. Please clarify for me...What exactly is the x-ray machine? I'm assuming it is the device that is on the conveyor belt that the carry-ons travel on and go through. True? And I'm assuming the scanner is the same as the metal detector, which is the device that is usually next to the conveyor belt that the travelers walk through. Correct?

With all the apparent TSA confusion, I'll probably just insist that my pump and back-up not go through any device, and I'll accept a pat-down.

Karrie

Posted on Tue Sep 24 23:03:46 GMT 2013

Jim, you’re right – the belt that your carry-on items go through is an x-ray machine. The machine you walk through is either a metal detector or a body scanner. The body scanners are relatively new and may contain x-ray. So, we do recommend you take the manual pat-down in order to not take your pump through the body scanners. You should also not put your pump on the belt to go through the x-ray. We do have an airport emergency card that you can download, print and bring with you to the airport to help explain your devices to airport officials. You can download it here www.medtronicdiabetes.com/lifestyle/travel . Best of luck on your trip!

Lane

Posted on Tue Apr 08 22:56:51 GMT 2014

I travel for work, which requires significant air travel (foreign and domestic, ~200,000 miles flown per year). I've been pumping for 10 years, and just started with the CGM two weeks ago. I always where my pump through the metal detector at security. If all other metal is removed, the detector does't alarm. In the USA, this is usually followed up by the hand swabbing mentioned previously. This is now a much improved process over what it was even a few years ago.
Many of the airports in the US are now using the "millimeter Wave" technology full body scanner, which has a sign posted by it noting that it does not use X-Ray. I have worn my pump through these scanners many times, and there have been no noted issues. I have not warn the CGM through yet, since today I was routed through the metal detector.
My question the Medtronic is this: your advice is to not use the full body scanners as some of these in use may use X-Ray technology. So, if the scanner specifically states that it is Millimeter Wave, and not X-Ray, is this alright to go through?
Clarification on these different types of scanners would be greatly appreciated. As for international travel, I've been very lucky in that whenever I explain that it is an insulin pump, they have never required me to take it off for the Xray.
Thanks!

Joel

Posted on Wed Apr 09 18:54:00 GMT 2014

That is a good question, Lane. Since we haven’t tested our devices with the millimeter wave scanners, we still recommend that you avoid all body scanners. You can continue to wear your pump and CGM while going through an airport metal detector. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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