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Flying With Needles and Meds Can Raise Security Flags
Date:4/22/2010

insulin, that are exempt from the regulations restricting the amount that can be taken onboard.

In addition to insulin, people with insulin-dependent diabetes often must carry syringes, blood glucose meters or insulin pump supplies.

"Three or four years ago, insulin pumps and supplies might have been an issue at security, but these devices aren't so new anymore, and many more people are using them," said Dr. David Kendall, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. "The biggest thing is for you to raise awareness that you have them in your bags."

One area that may still cause concern, though, is the operation of wireless insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors onboard a plane. Though the devices are wireless, their transmission range is very short, probably just inches. But, Kendall said, the devices are new enough that the flight staff might not be familiar with them. In such cases, carrying a doctor's note explaining someone's need for the machine, or the operating manual that comes with the device, could be helpful.

"There's a need for education and raising of public awareness," Kendall said.

People who wear insulin pumps, prosthetic limbs, leg or body braces or orthopedic shoes do not have to remove them to go through screening. "Anything that would be a hardship for you to remove can stay," Davis said. "We have other methods of screening."

And though it's OK for people who've had joint replacement surgeries or cochlear [inner ear] implants to go through the metal detectors, Davis said that it's fine to ask security for a manual pat-down.

"It's important to know that our security officers are there to help," she said. "Be sure to let them know what the issues are and feel free to ask questions. If you're not satisfied, there are supervisors available at every checkpoint."

She said the TSA Web site has additional information about many specif
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