Medical Alert Bracelet and Medical Jewelry
by Brian B.
Carter, MS, LAc
One out of every five people has a medical condition that paramedics and doctors need to know about right away in an emergency. Communicating that vital info is what a medical alert bracelet is for.
If you have a chronic disease, medical condition, or take a pharmaceutical drug that could threaten your life, you must wear a medical alert bracelet on your wrist or ankle.
It could save your life. Really.
Wearing a medical alert bracelet offers you peace of mind knowing that you or your loved one will be properly cared for in a timely manner should an unexpected medical emergency arise.
Wear a medical alert bracelet if you have such conditions as lymphedema, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, asthma and hemophilia. Heart patients with an implanted device such as a pacemaker or AICD should also wear a medical alert, particularly those taking the blood thinner Coumadin. Individuals with a food or drug allergy also should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.
Your medical alert bracelet must convey at least three pieces of critical information:
- Your name
- Your medical condition
- An emergency phone number to someone else doctors can get more information from
Not too long ago (Oct, 2004), there came a headline: "Golfer Linda Maurer, first to wear Medical Alert bracelet, dies at 65" She died of natural causes - not in an emergency - because of the alert bracelet.
Don't think that having another person around is enough. In an emergency, that person could be unavailable, injured, or so panicked that they can't remember the vital information. You don't want to bet your life and your future on just a caretaker. You also need a medical alert bracelet.
When you are unconscious or unable to speak:
- If you've been in an accident or have passed out, if you have diabetes, your medical alert bracelet could tell the doctors that low blood sugar could have caused your accident, and treating the insulin reaction first is best
- You could be accused of drunkenness, even jailed, when suffering from low blood sugar. An easy to see medical alert bracelet would prevent that from happening.
Everyone with diabetes, no matter what age, should have a medical alert bracelet, especially if you require insulin.
A medical alert bracelet is just one form of medical identification. People also wear neck chains, necklaces, watch charms, shoes tags, or carry wallet cards that provide essential medical information for your health care providers.
The choice between a medical alert bracelet, necklace or dog tag, watch charm, shoe tag, or wallet ID card depends on your age and activity level.
- Necklaces are ok for adults but not for young children
- Ankle bracelets work well on young children, and parents can also carry a medical ID wallet card for their child
- Emergency personnel prefer medical identifications that are easy to find. Bad: an ankle bracelet on a grown man wearing socks. Good: a shoe tag on a child's sneaker. Emergency personnel first look for wristband medical alert bracelets, necklaces, and dog tags, and then watch charms and shoe tags.
- Use a wallet card only as a back-up... you can be separated from your wallet medical ID by fire or robbery
Whichever form you choose is up to you. However, it is important that the chain be durable because medical alert bracelets, necklaces, etc. must be worn all the time.
More sophisticated alternatives to the medical alert bracelet include:
- Agio's MEDIC ID jewelry wallet card microdot
- MediScope's pendant microdot
- Sneaker Mate's plastic tags laced into shoes
- Medic Alert engraved tag with 24-hour toll-free number
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Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, medical professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.