Insulin-dependent diabetic patients need to be aware of new airline security requirements when travelling, and have appropriate documentation from their doctor to ensure they will be allowed to take their insulin, needles and supplies on board with them, an intensive care physician advises in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.
Associate Professor George Skowronski, an intensive care physician at St George Hospital in Sydney, says diabetes patients need to be aware of changes in air travel security, and ensure they meet the new requirements for carrying medical supplies.
"Security requirements for air travel have recently become very strict and include limitations on the carriage of medication and medical equipment," Assoc Prof Skowronski says.
"In Australia, the Department of Transport and Regional Services stipulates that people with medical requirements may carry 'prohibited items' such as hypodermic needles, but must also carry a doctor's letter, a medical certificate, or a current National Diabetes Services Scheme Card.
"Supplies should be clearly labelled, carried in a clear plastic bag and declared to security staff before being screened."
Assoc Prof Skowronski says diabetes patients attempting to travel long distances without their medication are putting their health at serious risk.
"Life-threatening [diabetic reactions] can readily develop over the course of a flight between Australia and the northern hemisphere.
"Insulin-dependent patients must continue to take their insulin during these flights and should not board without their supplies."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.