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Airport Security X-Rays May Damage Diabetes Devices
Date:11/21/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Full body X-ray scanners and luggage X-rays may damage some insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, both used by many people with diabetes to manage their conditions.

It's likely that every day, large numbers of travelers expose these diabetes care devices to X-rays while going through airport security "and some may unknowingly experience mild [or worse] malfunctioning as a result," wrote the authors of a recent editorial in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

They recommend carrying a letter that details all of the medical supplies someone with diabetes needs to carry on board with them. They also recommend that if someone wears an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitors, the letter specifically state that these devices shouldn't be subjected to X-rays, either from a full body scanner or the X-ray machine that scans carry-on luggage. Instead, these devices should be hand-checked, according to editorial co-authors Andrew Cornish and Dr. H. Peter Chase, from the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Tracy Breen, director of diabetes care for North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed with this advice.

"I always recommend that people living with diabetes travel with a letter from their doctor stating their diagnosis of diabetes, what their travel needs are and what supplies they are traveling with," Breen said. "Since we really don't know what can happen to an insulin pump or [continuous glucose monitoring] device when it is passed through an imaging device, it is important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations."

Breen added, "It's also important for people and their doctors to be well versed in Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) guidelines and to consider incorporating those guidelines into the text of their travel letter."

The editorial described the exp
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