X-ray machines and flying

Hi All - Question about flying. I am on the G6 and the omnipod. Can my PDM and extra pods along with my receiver and extra sensors go through the X-ray machine in my carry on bag? I’ve read/heard things years ago not to but I don’t know if anything has changed. Thank you

I always run all my stuff through the x-ray and have not ever had a problem with it.

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From Dexcom

I had an MRI and was told to remove dexcom sensor/transmitter. Unfortunately, I missed doing this and realized it after I was done. The transmitter no longer worked, and had to get replaced.

But have had bone density scans and xrays without having to remove.

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So Dexcom basically doesn’t think it’s a good idea to put any of their stuff in the luggage screener or to walk through the body scanner (which I think most big airports use these days instead of the old metal detectors). Tandem has a similar advisory against the body scanners and luggage screeners.
I request a pat down and have my Dexcom materials inspected by the security people. It takes extra time and is sort of a (mild) pain in the neck and I’ve wondered whether it’s actually necessary but I’m an infrequent flyer and I figure better safe than sorry.
I’d be curious what frequent fliers do. It would be nice to just go though security like a normal person.

I have a lot of metal in me so don’t even bother to go through the usual magnetic screener because I alarm the whole airport. The body scanner works fine and I haven’t noticed any change in my pump or CGM. But reading through the advice not to go through the scanner, maybe I need to rethink this. I could just tell them to give me a whole-body pat-down. For some reason, I always thought it was the magnetic walk-through that was the problem!

I don’t send my pump through the X-ray machine — it stays attached to me. But reservoirs and Dexcom sensors and my cellphone have all gone through the X-ray just fine.

I travel quite a bit. Maybe I’ve been lucky.

Actually, I’ll probably just keep doing what I’ve been doing.

I’ve worn Dexcom for years, and I’ve never had a problem. I tell them nothing and just walk through.

I know that most of the pump manufacturers recommend that their equipment NOT go through airport X-Ray machines.

My procedure: I’m not a fan of the pad-down and strip search. I carry a plastic bag, take off my Tandem pump just before security, put it in the plastic bag and put it through the X-Ray scanner along with my phone and laptop. Why is the electronics in the pump any more sensitive to X-Rays than the electronics in my phone or laptop? That said, I do not expose it to more intense medical X-rays and would definitely not get it close to the enormous magnetic fields associated with an MRI.

If in doubt, follow the manufacturers recommendations.

Happy travels!

John

I always have my diabetes supplies separate in their own bag, ideally labeled with “medical supplies” and alongside any medical documents, letters, or prescriptions I have with me. I also wear my ID bracelet with my conditions listed. I have more than just my diabetes to wrangle, though, but it’s worked very well. When I was on the pump, I put all my pump supplies in my medical/onboard bag, putting the pre-filled cartridges in their own smaller ziplock inside that. My pump stayed on me, and I got the pat down, which I always do anyway. I told them before we got started, and they swabbed both my hands and the pump. It didn’t seem to add much time. I also had good luck getting a small, wearable pack (cross-body or Fanny pack or bum bag, whatever you call the embarrassing things) and putting my most essential stuff in it.

In reply to MM1 - Did they replace it for free, even though it was your error?

Yes it was replaced, no charge. They know sometimes accidents happen.
I have heard some get replacements for transmitters lost while swimming in ocean for same reason.

I had a Medtronic pump fail after the magnet metal detector.
I had to draw out of my pump w a syringe for the flight.

I did the pat down thing for years until the pat down thing got longer and more aggressive.

Now I go through the body scanner. They swab my hands and I’m good to go.

I haven’t had a failure from it and I travel a lot.
I also carry long acting and log insulin with me just in case.
I’ve had my tandem for a year and a half and I’ve been through probably 50 body scanners in that time.

Never had problems with my pods or PDM going through airport security. I always get hand wanded for the pod on me and my two metal hips.

Dexcom’s warnings are just liability coverage. They don’t officially run tests to ensure x-rays etc don’t cause damage, so they err on extremely cautious side of warning against them. But there’s no evidence that they DO cause any problems. I’ve never had any and never take any special precautions anymore.

MRIs are very different technology (giant magnets), and will for sure kill your transmitter. Your sensor alone will probably be ok.

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Having just gone through the pat down rigmarole twice on a trip last week, I am sorely tempted to stop with the precautions. I don’t mind being patted down but waiting for someone to do it added a lot of time this trip both ways.
One last call, though, no Dexcom transmitters destroyed by going through the millimeter wave technology that airport body scanners use and no tandem pumps or extra Dexcom sensors and/or transmitters destroyed by the baggage scanner….??
Also, are people removing their pumps and putting them through the baggage scanner or does airport security allow you to hold them in your hand while going through the body scanner?

I always bring an unused sandwich bag with me when I fly. As I’m waiting in line for my carry-on to move down the conveyer belt, I detach the pump, put it in the plastic bag, and ask that it be hand inspected. They usually do it pretty quickly, and it’s ready for me by the time I get through the scanner.

On the other hand, the past 6 times I’ve gone through the scanner, some part of my body alerts, and I’ve had to go through the pat down, which can take a lot of time if there’s no female tsa agent right there or if she’s already busy patting someone else down. I can’t figure out why this keeps happening…I have artificial knees, but I tell them that, and it’s never the knees causing the problem. Sometimes it’s been my upper right abdominal area, once it was my upper left thigh…I like to think it’s my personal magnetism :grinning: but I’ve resigned myself to the trials and tribulations of air travel in the 21st century.

Can’t speak to pumps, but not only has my Dexcom (both sensor and transmitter) always been fine going through the scanners, but only once over many many trips was I stopped for additional screening due to the transmitter. I also no longer say anything to screeners about insulin/other meds in my bags, and I don’t remove my insulin pens for liquid screening, and all of that is fine 100% of the time.

I don’t take my pump off for security I hold it.
I think the x ray radiation is more likely to harm the pump than the body scanner

Timothy…when I detach, I request that it be hand-inspected. They put on rubber gloves, run what looks like a q-tip around it, and examine the q-tip with some sort of machine that probably checks for traces of bomb-making materials. I go through the scanner and pick up the pump and reattach. Obviously, I make sure me site is in an easily reached location.

I have been quizzed about needles and insulin several times over the decades, going back to the 80’s Overall I think the awareness of TSA screeners that a certain percentage of passengers are going to be diabetic is there.

The highest level of confusion came shortly after 2001 when all liquids were banned. Then small quantities of liquid were allowed but only in the exact right size ziploc bag. God forbid you have a ziploc bag that’s too small or too big. Then insulin wasn’t allowed in the ziploc bag and they yelled at me if I put it there. But most of the time they don’t even bat an eye.

I too have gone through several kinds of airport scanners with my Dexcom on - never any problem. A couple times I tried to tell the TSA guy running the rotating full-body scanner I had a CGM attached but he never seemed to care.

I go through magnetometers several times a day in Washington DC and don’t even think about those anymore. Phone and Dexcom receiver goes through the magnetometer so many times I can’t even count. When a checker has to search my bag by hand I do try to warn them about any sharps.

I guess there’s something I’d like to clarify at the risk of repeating myself:
There’s the Dexcom transmitter that’s on your body which goes through the body scanner with you, apparently totally without incident for people on this thread. Then, there’s an extra Dexcom transmitter you might put in your carry on luggage in case the one you’re wearing expires or fails. Are people putting an extra transmitter in their carry on and putting the carry on through the baggage scanner without incident or are they asking that the extra transmitter in it’s sealed little box be hand inspected?