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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Travelling by air with diabetes

By Air
Most airlines are more than happy to help with passengers with special needs . Be sure to allow yourself extra time to check in before your flight, should your items be thoroughly searched by airport screening officers. Airlines usually offer special meals for people with diabetes, but most often the regular airline meals can fit into your meal plan with some planning. Always have appropriate snacks with you in case your flight or in-flight meal is delayed, or the meal provided does not have enough carbohydrate. Be aware of time zone changes, and schedule your meals and medication accordingly. If you choose to sleep while on travelling by air, use a travel alarm clock or ask the flight attendant to wake you at meal or medication time.

If you take insulin, be sure to carry it with you at all times. Manufacturers indicate that, ideally, insulin should not be exposed to x-rays during travel and that it be inspected manually whenever possible. However, the security scanners used at check-in will not normally damage your insulin or blood glucose meter. If baggage remains in the path of the x-ray for longer than normal, or if the baggage is repeatedly x-rayed, the insulin may lose potency. Insulin is affected by extreme temperatures and should never be stored in the unpressurized baggage area of the aircraft. As always, it is important to inspect your insulin before injecting each dose. If you notice anything unusual about the appearance of your insulin, or notice that your insulin needs are changing, contact your doctor.
Notify the screening officer in advance if you use an insulin pump. The walk-through metal detector and the hand-held metal detector may affect the functioning of an insulin pump, so you can ask the screening officer to perform a physical search in a private location.
Try to do some form activity during your journey: walk around in the terminal before boarding, consider doing simple stretching exercises in your seat, or move your ankles in circles and raise your legs occasionally.
If you are planning to travel by air, review the latest Transport Canada and Canadian Air Transport Security Authority information about packing your supplies and what is permitted (and not permitted) in carry-on and checked baggage. It’s important to have any prescription medicine with you and know how to use it, when to use it and any common side effects you might have. This will better prepare you to let air attendants know what to do.

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