Increased Security on Flights Affects People with Diabetes

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Increased Security on Flights affects people with Diabetes


Living with Diabetes

Increased Security on Flights affects people with Diabetes

As a result of the New York disaster [9/11], the security at airports and on flights has increased. There are to be no sharp objects in hand luggage. Clearly this affects people requiring insulin, and other injectables, because syringes, pen injection devices and blood testing lancets are all sharp objects and therefore fit into this category. However, airports and airlines have recognised the need for people with diabetes to inject and test on flights and therefore special regulations have been made to enable people requiring insulin to take the necessary equipment on board the aircraft.

The United Kingdom regulations
People treated with insulin require a letter from their GP to allow syringes and other equipment to be carried in hand luggage. The letter must clearly state that you have diabetes and will need to inject and test during the flight. The letter will also need to refer to any further supplies in the baggage in the hold. Without such a letter you may not be allowed to take your medication on board. It is recommended that the letter be obtained well ahead of the expected date of your flight.
The situation in other countries may be different, soIDDT recommends that you contact your airline for its exact policy but to be on the safe side, it is sensible to obtain a doctor’s letter.

General points:

  • If you are concerned that your syringes may be handled or tampered with at your hotel in your absence, take individually wrapped syringes with you rather than packs of ten. Use a syringe only once and then dispose of it carefully. In this way you will be sure of a sterile syringe each time you have an injection.
  • Remember to always take sufficient insulin with you because you may not be able to obtain your type of insulin in the country that you are visiting. This is particularly important for people using beef or pork insulins that have been withdrawn from many countries.
  • When you come home it is sensible to throw away any unused insulin that has travelled with you because it has not only been exposed to heat and bright light but also to vibrations, all of which can damage insulin and make it less effective.
  • If you are overseas for long periods and cannot obtain your usual insulin in that country John Bell and Croyden, Pharmacists, Wigmore Street, London will courier insulin [and other drugs] to you. All you have to do is to send them a doctor’s prescription, either NHS or private and they will properly pack the insulin and courier it to you. You will have to pay the courier charges. Alternatively if you use Hypurin beef or pork insulins these can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription directly from the manufacturers, Wockhardt UK – their contact address and telephone numbers will be on your insulin pack.
  • Using a pen injector means that injections can be done discreetly in public if necessary. For those who do not a pen [or cannot use a pen because of lack of availability for their particular type of insulin], travelling can be difficult if you are stuck in airports. No one wants to inject in public toilets with all the modern day connotations of syringes. Here is a tip – use the baby changing rooms, they are bigger, cleaner and can be used by both men and women. Alternatively most airports have a medical room than can be used.