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What is a Medical Alert Bracelet and Do I Need One?

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What is a Medical Alert Bracelet and Do I Need One?

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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August 12, 2019 Read Time - 4 minutes

The month of August is Medical Alert Awareness Month, and the movement aims to shed light on the importance and inherent value of the medical alert ID. Having been around for decades, these intuitive accessories do much more than their simplistic aesthetic might indicate.

Having saved countless lives throughout the years, medical alert bracelets and ID’s can become a vital aspect in the reduction of mortality due to chronic and other diagnosed diseases.

So what exactly is a medical alert bracelet, and could you possibly benefit from using one? Here are the facts.

What is a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Typically worn as a bracelet or a necklace, the medical alert identification tag provides individuals with imperative medical information about the wearer. The purpose of the tag is to inform others of an individual’s unique medical conditions and needs especially in instances when that person might be unable to provide the information themselves.

Often made of stainless steel or sterling silver, these tags have been used for decades. Many lives have been saved by the information indicated on their medical alert bracelet, providing first-responders all the necessary details they need in order to provide incapacitated individuals appropriate medical care in dire situations.

What are the Types of Medical Alert Tags?

Back when they were first introduced in the 1950’s, medical alert tags were much simpler. Resembling dog tags, they were engraved with as much information as could fit on the surface of the tag. Today, they come in a variety of types, including simpler bracelets and dog tag style accessories, to more advanced USB and QR code tags.

Individuals with an extensive medical history may benefit from USB medical alert tags which can contain all of the pertinent information related to their health. However, it pays to know that because the information will likely be used by first responders like paramedics, simpler tags with details printed on its surface might be more intuitive to provide those involved the info they need at a glance.

Who Can Benefit From a Medical Alert Bracelet?

In many ways, anyone can benefit from the use of a Medical Alert Bracelet. Even individuals without any known or diagnosed medical conditions can reap the advantages of these nifty tags by simply indicating that they have no pertinent medical conditions. In emergency cases – especially those when the patient might not be able to communicate – any information is helpful information for those trying to decode the reason for the emergency.

While medical alert bracelets have a wide application, individuals suffering from these conditions most commonly use these tags:

• Adrenal insufficiency
• Allergies
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Angioedema
• Anemia
Asthma
• Autism
• Cerebrovascular accident
• Chemotherapy
• Dementia
Diabetes
• Epilepsy
• Hypoglycemia
• Hypopituitaryism
• Implantable medical devices (pacemakers and the like)
• Memory disorders
• Seizure disorders

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What Information is Written on a Medical Alert Tag?

There is no specific template or guide that oversees the extent or limitations of the information that can be written on a medical alert tag. For the most part, medical alert bracelets contain the individual’s name, their main diagnosis, their basic information such as their age and any medications they take.

These tags also often indicate the name and number of the individual’s contact person and their primary care physician. In some cases, the tags may also provide the patient’s national health service user number so that the responders can retrieve a more detailed account of the person’s history.

Do You Need a Medical Alert Tag?

You never know when an accident might happen, and medical alert tags can help the professional responding to your case provide you accurate, appropriate medical care that suits your condition. Having any pertinent medical information available at the ready can help save your life, and keep you from the dangers of mortality especially in urgent moments when you might not be able to communicate for yourself.

To talk to a doctor online about whether a medical alert tag is right for you, book an appointment here.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Medicalalert.org. Information That Should Be on Your Medical Bracelet. Accessed on February 6, 2021 at https://www.medicalert.org/sites/default/files/document/WhatsBehindYourID.pdf

American Medical ID. Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed on August 12, 2019 at https://www.americanmedical-id.com/faq

Joslin Diabetes Center. Importance of Wearing a Medical Alert Bracelet with Diabetes. Accessed on August 12, 2019 at https://www.joslin.org/info/Importance_of_Wearing_a_Medical_Alert_Bracelet_with_Diabetes.html

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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