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Taking Diabetes Devices Through Airport Security Can Be Stressful! Have You Tried TSA Cares?

Taking Diabetes Devices Through Airport Security Can Be Stressful! Have You Tried TSA Cares?

Airport security.

Those two words conjure up lots of images... Waiting. Watching the clock. Scrambling.

Scrambling to get carry-ons onto the conveyor belt. Scurrying to remove shoes, unload purses, jackets and other personal belongings into trays. Answering children's questions while urging them to help. Last minute searches to find the 3-1-1 bags of liquids and gels. And so on...

Denver International Airport

Diabetes takes this stressful exercise to a new level.

Seven years ago we were nerved up about how this process would go. Our son N had been diagnosed with diabetes one year earlier. We had never boarded a plane with this disease. We researched and followed the recommended steps without incident.

In the seven years of being on MDI (multiple daily injections), never did we have an issue. They never asked to see the letter either. They never questioned our ice blocks or liquids to treat lows (in sizes larger than 3 oz.). In recent years, we actually became fairly relaxed about it.

Using the word “relaxed” is pretty significant for me if you’ve been following my blog. N has a life-threatening peanut allergy as well as diabetes (and other conditions). Add my flight anxiety to the mix and “relaxed” is hardly a recognizable word on airline travel days!

This past summer was different. Our son, N, became an insulin pump user in 2013. He also started wearing a CGM (continuous glucose monitor). With these new devices, I had homework to do...

There were loads of forums with similar questions posed. How do I travel with my pump and CGM? What should I expect?  Most comments offered helpful information and reassurance but the sprinkling of TSA horror stories sure caught my eye. And the advice was often inconsistent.

TSA Cares

I came across Meri’s post from Our Diabetic Life, encouraging families affected by diabetes to make use of the TSA Cares Program. She cautioned that if we don’t use this program, we may lose it! 

A guest post by Lisa on Michelle Litchman's blog Health in the Presence of Social Media, also urges PWDs (persons with diabetes) to use the TSA Cares Program, citing the same caution given by Meri.

TSA Cares is a Transportation Security Administration helpline specifically dedicated to the needs of people with disabilities and medical conditionsThey provide information regarding airport checkpoint screening and access to Passenger Support Specialists (PSS), who are specifically trained in disabilities, to assist with the screening process.


So we gave it a try. The verdict? 

To read the full post, click here.

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