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Flying with a pump.

Discussion in 'Insulin Pump Forum' started by RoDnEyBoY, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. RoDnEyBoY

    RoDnEyBoY Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Evening,

    So I'm off on holiday in august, just thought I'd ask what's the situation concerning flying with a pump?

    Do I have to notify BA?

    I already have the letter from my DSN.

    Thanks in advance.

    RoDnEyBoY.
     
  2. Saber

    Saber Type 1 · Active Member

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    I am in the same position and thinking about a holiday abroad. Would like to know also if there any special pump rules.
     
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  3. walshdon

    walshdon Type 1 · Active Member

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    Don't need to notify anyone just carry your letter. I have done it many times. Only thing you must not allow them to do is put your pump through the xray machine you are fine walking through body scanner but can't have any magnets near your pump. Also I have found no travel insurance company will cover the pump.

    Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Saber

    Saber Type 1 · Active Member

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    Thanks for that information it really helps.
     
  5. RoDnEyBoY

    RoDnEyBoY Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Silly question but my old testing machine went through the x ray is it ok for these Bluetooth ones to go through?

    RoDnEyBoY.
     
  6. iHs

    iHs · Well-Known Member

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    Ive not bothered to take my pump to another country for holiday. Instead, I go back to insulin pens with background insulin and bolus. I dont worry about insurance for the pump in case it gets stolen on the beach or from a swimming pool, or if in fact, it develops a fault and I need to use pens anyway. I want my holidays to be worry free.


    Sent from the Diabetes Forum App
     
  7. ealingr

    ealingr Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've travelled quite a bit since having my pump. I was initially a bit anxious but haven't encountered any major issues. I'd be much more worried about going back to injections than I am about taking my pump abroad! Here are a few notes based on my experiences:

    > Definitely carry the letter with you. In larger airports, there is typically someone who speaks English so you should find the letter is sufficient to explain the situation. I've travelled through some small airports, and for those I took the precaution of writing down "I am diabetic. This is an insulin pump." in the local language, just in case they didn't understand (I've only needed to use it once, I think).

    > You don't need to notify the airline in advance of travelling. However, if you are going to a country where the pump company can't get a replacement pump to you quickly (this only tends to be more out-of-the-way places), you may want to let them know so you can arrange to take a backup with you. Animas are fantastic about this - they have a pump loan scheme where you contact them two weeks before travelling and they send you a "loaner" pump to take on holiday. They courier it to you and pay for the return courier to collect it, too. They also provide their own letter for travel which explains about not x-raying the pump, etc.

    > When it comes to going through security, I've done different things but the easiest one seems to be telling the security person before the scanner that I'm wearing an insulin pump which I can't take off (I've also just walked through, but usually I set off the scanner if I do that). That person usually tells someone on the other side so they can expect me to "beep" when I walk through. The UK airports I've flown through will usually do a pat down security check, and often want to swab the pump (i.e. wipe it with a cloth, which they then put through a machine). I basically expect to spend an extra few minutes at security now I have the pump, but the security personnel mostly seem familiar with insulin pumps so it is a very painless experience. I feel worse for the person I'm travelling with, as they typically need to hang around and wait for me for those extra few minutes. :)

    > You can walk through the "old-style" scanners wearing your pump but not the newer full body scanners (the ones that look like a tube sitting on its side) - at least, that's the guidance for my pump. If you're at an airport where they have both, then just try to choose a security line with the old-style ones. If you're at an airport where they only have the newer ones, then you can't go through the scanner. It isn't a big deal, though. In those cases, I tell the security staff, show them my letter and they will do a manual pat-down security check instead.

    > In terms of a backup for my pump, it seemed wasteful to me to be ordering pen cartridges that I was unlikely to use so these days I just take my regular pump insulin (i.e. insulin vials) and a packet of syringes (I was able to buy these in Boots for a couple of pounds). Given that Animas can typically get a replacement pump to me quickly for most countries I travel to, the possibility of using syringes for 24 to 48 hours doesn't seem unreasonable and I'm happy with that as a backup.

    I hope some of this helps, and that you enjoy your holiday! :)
     
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  8. RoDnEyBoY

    RoDnEyBoY Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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  9. hale710

    hale710 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Great response, really helpful!


    Blogging at drivendiabetic.wordpress.com
     
  10. CarbsRok

    CarbsRok Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    If you want to fly with your pump
    1 wear a safety helmet
    2 make sure you have a super dooper battery for take off :)

    There is a pump letter that you can get for use when traveling. Not to sure if there's one in your pump hand book. If not ask your DSN to write one for you. Obviously they are very busy so give plenty of notice.
    Enjoy your holiday :)
     
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    #10 CarbsRok, Jun 14, 2014 at 8:47 AM
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2014
  11. kkkk

    kkkk Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Just a note I saw on another forum...to do with CGM, was about the pressure changes when flying - the taking off and the landing. Apparently lots of diabetics end up with hypos when they get off the flight, and the reasoning behind this is that with the subtle pressure changes as you take off and land it causes bubbles to form in your canula, and as the bubbles form so they can push a little extra insulin into you...so one lady did this test and as she took off she disconnected and took photos of bubbles forming - so she primed and then reconnected for the flight, and the same happened with the decent - bubbles formed and she again primed (you could also give yourself a little bolus to cover the basal that you miss but it is only the short while that you take off and land). Don't know whether anyone else has heard of this, seen this - I don't fly that often so I can't test it - but it might be something worthwhile looking out for.
     
  12. RoDnEyBoY

    RoDnEyBoY Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that Ill have to investigate this, but interesting point you've made.

    RoDnEyBoY.
     
  13. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I have always got into the habit of suspending my pump before take off and landing. I've never had any issues with hypos. I do tend to find I need extra insulin though because of 'travel stress'! I have specific pump insurance iso it is covered whilst on holidays as well. (Don't want to get into the pros and cons of this as I pay £6 something a month for it and others believe it's expensive/unnecessary - for me it's less worry and I'm happy to pay it). Ealingr covered most things in his excellent response. In hot climates the Frio pouches are excellent. Carry double of everything in case. I did have an issue once with my insulin vials being quite lively and every reservoir fill was a bit of a nightmare due to bubbles. It only ever happened once so I'm not sure what that was about! One good tip - if you're taking a loan pump (Medtrnoic are great with this too) write down your basal rates as you'll need them if the second pump comes into play.
     
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  14. RoDnEyBoY

    RoDnEyBoY Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply and tips.

    What Frio pouch would you recommend I think I am going to take 3 maybe 4 vials with me?

    RoDnEyBoY.
     
  15. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've got a variety of sizes but the one I bought specifically for me pump (which Medtronic subsequently told me not to use as it could cause it damage) is a good little size for 2 vials I think. I also use the large frio for a few spare pens and can put vials in with them. What I did see before I went on holiday were little neoprene jackets for the vials but they were sold out - I may have to investigate these again :)
     
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  16. Jambo Wiggy

    Jambo Wiggy Type 1 · Member

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    What kind of damage did Medronic say could happen. I am only in my 4th week of pumping and have bought a Frio pump case to take on holiday!!
     
  17. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    They told me by e-mail that the damp atmosphere from the case could damage the pump and therefore invalidate the warranty! I asked the medtrnoic rep in person when I met her and she hadn't heard this and was going to speak to them directly and get back to me. I never heard from her, I have been to Greece a few times since then where temperatures have reached 38-40 degrees and had my pump clipped to my waistband as usual - it's not been in a frio pouch and I've had no problems.
     
  18. K8tie_x

    K8tie_x Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I haven't got a holiday abroad booked this year yet but feel so nervous going abroad with my pump I'm considering just reverting back to MDI for the week or 2 :s
     
  19. Riri

    Riri Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I was like you for the first few trips but, like everything, the more you do it the easier it becomes. I have had no real issues with the pump. My issues always relate to me getting 'stressed' about everything which sends my numbers rocketing. Now that I've flown and gone to Greece a few times I don't worry about the pump in airports or in hot weather or on the beach as everything is always fine. My BSs were so umpredictable on MDI I would worry far more abut the random bad hypos I suffered before having the pump. I wear higher waisted bikinis bottoms or tankinis on the beach and my pump lies by my side covered by a pice of cloth poor hat and nobody notices. It is nervy the first time though and I was convinced that my pump would fail!! I always take a loan pump with me but even that didn't calm me down!!!
     
  20. kkkk

    kkkk Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I did wonder about heat and the pump...as it doesn't ever mention keeping insulin cool, whereas if I was abroad with my pens then I would have them in the cool bag so not fridge cool but no 30 degrees hot either...so this is never an issue for the pump? Is insulin a bit more durable than I thought especially when you are changing it every 2-3 days?
     
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