Advice for diabetics on air travel

In the summer, more and more people travel to distant lands, thanks to more affordable airfare. One such trip — especially if it is longer — can put a strain on the body of even a healthy person, even those suffering from some chronic illness. Diabetics, for example, need to come up with a ready-made travel plan, and they also need to pay attention to where they put their insulin on the machine. Dr. Marietta Porochnavecz, a diabetologist at the Diabetes Center, gave helpful advice on the subject.

Keep insulin in the passenger compartment

  • When planning a trip, talk to your doctor about insulin preparations. It is important for an insulin diabetic to know the exact manufacturer, name, and effect of their own insulin (base, fast-acting, mixed) so that they can inform their doctor if they have a problem.
  • Always have more insulin than you need, and if you need more than you need, don’t worry. Keep spare insulin in a separate pack, in case you lose a pack, there should be no problem.
  • Always bring a spare Pen and a Pen for administration. If possible, Glucagon injection should be available to treat severe hypoglycaemic episodes in patients treated with insulin. It is right that relatives are also familiar with its application.
  • Always keep your insulin in the cabin, in your hand luggage! Insulin storage is +2 and +8 OC is required, but keep what we are using at room temperature. It should also be protected from direct sunlight, heat or cooling. Insulin, blood glucose meter, pen, needles must always be kept in hand luggage!

However, the question may arise as to whether this will not be a problem, as we know well that needles – and any sharp, cutting, sharp objects – should not be taken into the passenger compartment. Of course, those who are forced to take an injection with them for health reasons will be treated differently. Present a medical certificate with date, type of disease, indication of use of the injection upon boarding. If you have injected your own insulin on the plane, you should usually tell the flight attendant, who will put the needle, syringe in a separate container for this purpose, or keep it with you and throw it away after landing.



It is recommended that have a Hungarian and English language diabetes card in the bag, which should include the type of treatment (tablet or insulin-treated), a precise description of the dosage of the medicines, the name of the person to be notified and the contact details of the treating doctor. The address of the place of stay during the holiday is also important.


When traveling by plane, the airline must be notified in advance of the need for a diet meal. 1-3 days for European travel and redemption for intercontinental flights. There can always be flight delays or delays, so always have food in your hand luggage for your next meal!

Talk to your doctor

Check with your doctor well in advance of your trip so that you can discuss the necessary treatment plan, any changes, time lags, or other climate issues.

General rule: if the trip is from east to west (e.g., from Europe to the United States), the wake time increases. In this case, it is recommended that fast-acting insulin be given every 6 hours, with a temporary omission of the base insulin. Upon arrival, return to your original insulin dosage to adjust to your local life rhythm. Even then, it is important to monitor your blood sugar regularly and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.

It is advisable to prescribe more medication / insulin for unexpected problems. It is also important to know that if you are traveling to a place where vaccination is required, it may temporarily affect previous therapy.


People with a chronic illness should take out travel insurance to cover emergencies. dr. Marietta Porochnavecz, a diabetologist at the Diabetes Center.


If a diabetic travels a longer journey, beingthese are comfort / security services which also allow for a closer relationship between the patient and their doctor between two consultations. Thus, if the patient is away, he can still stay in touch with the doctor treating him. Telediabetology is also an option. You can then simply upload the data (e.g. blood sugar level, diet, exercise, any symptoms) to a central system and share it with the professionals who treat you. In this way, changes, symptoms, problems can be monitored, so that other therapies can be prescribed if necessary, even without personal contact.

Source: Diabetes Center

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