Air Travel with Epinephrine Auto-Injectors

Find out the best ways to carry your epinephrine auto-injector through airport security and onto an aircraft.

When you travel, you must always be prepared for a severe allergic reaction. It is critical that you carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times.

You may wonder what this means for airport security and other points during air travel.

First Things First

Always carry your Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. Put it with your epinephrine auto-injector and other prescribed medication.

Keep your epinephrine with you. Do not put it in your checked luggage or store it in the overhead bin.

Let your traveling companions know about your allergies. Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency on the flight and where your auto-injector is.

Taking Epinephrine Through Airport Security

FARE’s medical advisers recommend sending your epinephrine auto-injectors through the x-ray machines and scanners used to screen carry-on luggage. While research on this topic is limited, there is no scientific evidence that these machines will change the effectiveness of the medication. The amount of radiation produced by an airport x-ray machine is similar to the amount of ambient radiation everyone experiences in a typical day on planet Earth.

Furthermore, FARE recommends using the x-ray machine over allowing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official to visually inspect your device. Such inspections may increase the risk that the device is accidentally activated, damaged or lost.

You can find more information about traveling with medications and the effects of airport x-ray systems on medication from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Taking Epinephrine on a Flight

According to the TSA, passengers are allowed to bring their epinephrine on board a flight.

However, you may need to show the printed label that identifies the medication (e.g., Adrenaclick®, Auvi-Q™, EpiPen®). You should also be prepared to show the prescription label from the pharmacy.

It also helps to have a note from your doctor that confirms your food allergy and your need to carry medication. Download a sample letter.

More About TSA’s Policies

This information is provided by the International Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance.

TSA security currently permits over-the-counter liquid medications. However, volumes larger than 3.4 ounces must be declared to a TSA officer. A declaration can be made verbally, in writing or by a person’s companion, caregiver, interpreter or family member. TSA may also allow gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items.

Bear in mind that there is always a subjective element to airline security. Much is left to the individual screener’s discretion.

If you have questions, call TSA at (866) 289-9673, email TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov or go online.

 

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