5 Ways Your Health Can Hold You Up at Airport Security

These common medical conditions can make passing through airport security a challenge.


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According to the TSA's website, diabetic passengers should have no trouble bringing medical items through security; however, passengers (especially those with insulin pumps) should be prepared to subject themselves to a pat-down. You should also let agents know if you feel an impending bout of low blood sugar to ward off the perception of being a threat.

You've Had Surgery

Airport security can cause trouble for passengers with surgically implanted devices. The X-ray machines are very sensitive and can easily detect surgical pins, staples, and plates, which can lead to a wand screening or a pat-down. (Note: You should not be asked to lift or remove your clothing during the screening process.) Defibrillators and pacemakers can make the airport security process even trickier, as the larger screening tools—like the X-ray and full-body scanners—can upset the functioning of those devices.

To help the security process go as safely and smoothly as possible, passengers with surgically implanted devices should let screening agents know what the implant is and where it's located. If you've received a pacemaker, the TSA website recommends carrying a Pacemaker ID Card. If you are worried about the functionality of your device, you are free to request a pat-down (public or private) instead of passing through the machine.

Planning Ahead

Talk to your doctor about your concerns before your trip. A doctor's note or a completed TSA Disability Notification Card (www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/disability_notification_cards.pdf) will allow you to inform security agents of your condition in a more private manner.

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For health issues such as diabetes or heart conditions, wearing a medical information bracelet (like those provided by Medical ID Marketplace at www.hopepaige.com) will ensure you receive proper care throughout the security process.