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Taking Medication Abroad

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by LucyLou1997, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. LucyLou1997

    LucyLou1997 · Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm going on my first ever flight abroad in September, and wanted to know a few things. (My doctor surgery have not been very helpful!)

    I was told by the Travel Agents to get a letter from my GP that explains taking medication abroad with me, so basically customs are aware of needles and liquids etc. My concern is that do these letter have an expiry date? I booked this holiday in April, and decided to tell my doctor in May to ensure that the letter was completed in time as nothing ever takes 5 minutes with my GP, but surprisingly they had the letter written within a day! I thanked them and collected it but asked if they had an expiry date on them, to which they said we are not sure? I've been researching and asked the Travel agents but I'm not getting any answers, I'm now panicking because I'm scared my medication is going to be taken off me.

    It also states that I have needles and insulin on me, but no mention of a Insulin Pump even though I did state this to the receptionist... Should I go back and get the letter changed to say I have an OmniPod insulin pump on me? I don't want anyone getting suspicious of machinery being taken on board and taking that off me as well! I never had an issue when I went to France as me and my friend went by Eurostar, but I know airlines are different and wanted to know from other people's experiences what you had to do in terms of taking medication with you.

    Sorry I'm in a complete panic, but figured the best people to ask would be people who have travelled previously.

    Many thanks in advance :) x
     
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  2. Knikki

    Knikki Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hello @LucyLou1997

    The Doctora letter has no expiry date think the one I have is a couple of years old, but if you have a repeat prescription thing then keep a copy of that handy.

    Keep any medication with you and carry anything loose in a see through plastic bag.

    Back what you need for the holiday, then pack the same amount again and to be on the safe side pack the same amount one more time.

    Not a pump user myself but will tag @helensaramay as she uses a pump and travels trough airports a fair bit so might have more advice.
    I'll also tag @Juicyj another pump user but not sure how often she travels :)

    Have a fun time on holiday :)
     
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  3. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Expert

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    @Knikki thanks for the tag.
    @LucyLou1997 if you are travelling in September, you have plenty of time so ...relax.

    As Knikki mentioned, me and my pump fly quite a bit. Everything has been cool.
    The most important thing is do not x-ray your pump. This includes, do not go through the full body scanner (metal detector arch is fine) with the pump.

    I have never mentioned my pump to anyone in the airline. However, the x-ray/full body scanner issue means I often have to mention it to airport security. They have asked me for the letter that explains this limitation. Therefore, I would definitely ensure your doctor’s letter covers this.

    In the UK, GPS often charge for letters and, as you have found out, know very little about type 1 diabetes, especially nothing about pumps. For this reason, this best source of travel letters is is your diabetes team. They have probably provided at least one letter for every type 1 patient with a pump.

    Then, when you fly, make sure every single piece of diabetes related paraphernalia should be in your hand luggage (you can your airline for additional “medical bag” if necessary). Make sure you have twice as much stuff as you think you need and a pump backup (e.g. spare pens) just in case.

    My final advice, from personal experience, is to keep your hypo treatment at your seat. It is a bit embarrassing when you hypo when the seatbelt sign is on and your GlucoTabs are in the overhead locker.

    So, nothing to panic about ... just enjoy your trip.
     
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  4. DunePlodder

    DunePlodder Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    My pump manufacturer (Tandem) supplied me with a letter for airport security. Haven't used it yet though - next week.
     
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  5. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Expert

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    Animas provided one for me.
    I took this with me to prove the pump could not be x-rayed as per manufacturers instructions.
    I also took the doctors letter as proof this applied to me.
    During the shoe bomb scare, at the airport, I was asked for a doctors letter and my prescription for all my needles, etc. to prove it was all mine.
    Thankfully, the security threat is not considered as high now but i have no idea what could happen whilst I am away and an extra bit of paper takes up so little space, I take both just in case.
     
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  6. LucyLou1997

    LucyLou1997 · Member

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    Thank you all for your responses.

    I never realised my Diabetes team/pump provider could provide me with a letter. I will give them a call on Monday to get this sorted. I guess I'm just in a bit of panic due to my first time flying :bag: I know I'm not the first person with a pump to fly, I was just more worried about them taking any equipment/medication off of me whilst going through security. Thank you for the information as well about the X-Ray/Scanners, I was never informed of this either.

    Thank you all again, you have been a lot more informative than my GP!
     
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  7. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    how exciting! don't forget to enjoy it :) take off is such a buzz
     
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