Airport Security and Full Body Scans

Im not sure about other diabetics but for me every single airport security venture is always completely awful. I never ever remove my pump so when I walk through the metal detector thing it always beeps and they wand me and it beeps on my medic alert, pump and bra but they still insist on a full body search. Lately airport security has been urging me to go into the full body scanner but I am a little hesitant about it. I've read that I am not suppose to expose my pump to any radiation or x rays and I dont know how the scanners work. So, anyone out there know if these are bad for pumps? I will be going on a trip in less than a week so im looking for some answers. Thanks :)

Both Animas and Medtronic do NOT recommend going through the full body scans. Radiation can affect the pumps they say.

Yes. I've had the same problem with the pump.

All the time I was on MDI, I had no problems going through the scanner with my needles, etc.

But the two times I travelled recently with my pump made me never want to travel with it again.

I told them ahead of time about my pump and I beeped going through the scanner. They took me aside and lifted up my shirt in the security line (I was travelling with coworkers). Then the lady asked me to go through the full body scan and I said I'd have to take the pump off bc it's not supposed to go through the scanner. Then a male security guard came over to her and said "give her a break - she told you it's her insulin pump that's beeping." The female guard decided she'd swab my hands instead. Very upsetting. And this was a domestic flight!

Coming home was the same hassle - having to step aside and get felt up in front of everyone. After that trip, I decided to travel with my needles and leave the pump at home.

Same here and I work at the airport. TSA screeners are a pain. We should all ( Diabetics ) plan a trip some where and all get in the screening line together so they have to check all of us. The airlines and customers will complain because they will be getting to the gate late they will have to make changes. As for fully body scanner NO WAY. HEY IT JUST MIGHT MAKE THE NEWS :)

All of your experiences are very familiar to me. Getting felt up in front of everybody is very humiliating. I feel that diabetes is a part of me, and with diabetes comes my insulin pump and I should not be discriminated against just because I wear a pump. When I think about flying all that comes to my head is the horrors of security.

Haha, I think thats a wonderful idea! I find as soon as I tell them that I cannot go in the full body scanner they automatically treat me as suspicious and its such a frustrating situation.

It reminds me of a guy a couple years ago who was videoed telling the TSA person "Hey man, don't touch my @&%~!!!

Maybe we should have a pumper and a buddy get together with a cell phone camera and holler "Hey man, don't touch my pump!"

The Medtronic trainer I worked with said that under no circumstances should I go through a full-body x-ray machine with my pump on. I've flown a few times this past year with my pump and, when presented with the option of a full-body x-ray scanner, informed the TSA folks that I was wearing an insulin pump and could not go through the machine. They found someone to do a pat-down. Each time, they insisted on swabbing my pump (I assume for explosives) and that was it. There were not any questions/issues related to all the insulin and other supplies I was traveling with either.

I am a little concerned about some international travel I have coming up this spring (to Israel). You have to go through a special check point when going there (if you go through Frankfurt, which I'm assuming we are) and I'm preparing for the worst.

I'm very concerned about this topic as my trip to Singapore nears. Would it be smarter to disconnect my pump at the site and be carrying it in hand when I reach the screener? That way I could hold it out to her separately and explain what it is. I got the idea from knowing how creepy it is for others to see something connected to our bodies (when they don't know anything about this gig). Any thoughts?

You don't have to. Just let the TSA agent know you are wearing an insulin pump and it can't be disconnected. MM says not to expose the pump to X rays. So far I haven't had any problems at airports.

I am boycotting the full-body scanners. Doctors at UCLA have expressed concern that the x-rays are concentrated on the surface of the skin in those scanners, which they posit is very bad news for people with melanoma genes or other skin cancer genes. Having been diagnosed with malignant melanoma twelve years ago, I am not getting in one of those things. Ever. (Lesion removed successfully but I couldn't walk normally for six months post-surgery -- all subsequent biopsies have been O.K)

They are not "less radiation than a flight" because normal, natural background radiation (e.g. from a flight) is evenly spread through the body, not concentrated in the skin cells.

Please, please, please make a funny YouTube on this and I'll do my utmost to help it go viral. LOL It could be very educational.

Thanks, Richard. When do you let the screener know? after you walk thru the xray and it beeps, or do you snag a screener b4?

When I went to Korea,it was the US TSA folks who gave me grief, but leaving Korea was a piece of cake. At SFO, after refusing the scanner, I was given a pat down and my hands and pump were tested for explosives. Leaving Korea, I showed the official, who was directing folks to the metal detector, that I had a pump, he directed me to a female official who just gave me a quick wave of a wand and sent me on my way.
I wouldn't recommend carrying the pump with the intention of explaining it to the TSA official. If there are a lot of people to be screened, they might not have time to listen to the explanation. Just keep it in your pocket, if it has a metal clip-take it off, and hope you only go through a metal detector. Don't worry what others think, most people who see mine think it is a cell phone or IPod of some sort.

Just came back from an airline trip to Memphis from Columbus, Ohio. I was wearing my Pump and my Cgms. I had just talked to the MM folks by Phone, and they DID NOT suggest wearing the CGM through the full body scanners. I had just paid out of pocket for a new transmitter ( new deductibles with my retired level insurance); and I truly didn't want to crash it. I asked for the pat down in lieu of the full-body scan. I told them before I went through that I would not be going through the scanner and why. The TSA agents assured me that they knew it would not hurt the Pump, but they,of course, had never heard of nor seen a CGM.

I assumed the '"I believe I can fly" condor position with arms outstretched and feet apart; while the very nice female TSA officer patted me down ,for both the departure and the return flights. I am not at all shy, nor tactiley defensive, so it did not bother me..But some people may not like the lack of privacy. It used to be done in a little covered shelter away from the general screening area, but now it has to be done in public, in full view. But is just not that awful to me.. In guess I kind of like an audience, anyway,(lol)., However, the rest of the passengers did not look; They were too busy trying to get their own belongings and go to their intended gate.

I will always ask for a pat down and will never do a Scanner. No desire for even a chance of damage to my "Bionic woman" gadgets, as they are quite pricey...

God bless,

Cin,sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I try to let them know as I am the next one in line. Depends on the activity at the aiport too. At Bradley in CT no problem. In Las Vegas the line was full of people so I told the TSA agent as I stepped up.

I flew from Phila to Ft Lauderdale and back last year. The woman in Phila was, frankly, nasty. She asked if I wanted to go somewhere private for a pat down - no way! The whole time she was doing her thing I talked, not quietly, about insulin pumps. They did the explosive swab too.

Coming back, the woman in FL was really nice, interested in hearing what the pump is, learning about D, etc. What a different experience.

I always tell them when I'm next in line that I'm wearing an insulin pump and won't go through anything but a metal detector. No way will I leave my pump at home and go back to MDI for the TSA. But then I'm like Brunetta, not much embarrasses me ;)

Thanks, Richard~ Can you educate me a little? When we walk thru the common security screen, is that a metal detector and not an xray? Or IS a metal detector an xray? I'm assuming it's ok with MM to walk thru that one, just not the new fangled full body scan. help?

My understanding is that it is ok to walk through a metal detector with a MM pump. But a fully body scanner or a luggage scanner is an X-ray machine and you should ask for a pat down instead.

Oh thank you! I had originally thought I could disconnect my pump and send it thru w/my purse! Yikes, glad you set me straight.