Your complete diabetes medical alert guide
Do you wear a medical alert tag? Do you carry a medical alert card in your purse/wallet?
If not you’re not alone. Many diabetics out there choose not to bother with a medical alert ID.
I quit wearing my old silver chained medical alert bracelet when I was 22. Now I’m 27 and just began wearing one again. This one is very different from the old one, though. It looks a lot less “medical” and a lot more personalized.
Maybe I’m one of the last people on the planet to find out recently that medical alert bracelets can look like your favorite jewelry. Did you know you can get leather ones, sparkly ones, gold, silver, red, blue, even sport bands? It’s all out there. You can even get a watch that doubles as your medical alert tag. Where have I been?
I did research to find the coolest looking tags, the variety of styles available, and the best deals so you wouldn’t have to. I also looked for answers to questions like, “Do emergency responders even check medical alert jewelry?” and more.
And if you don’t wear a medical alert tag and have diabetes I urge you to order one right away. You will also want a medical alert ID card-believe me. Wait until you find out what I discovered about that!
First of all, here are a few pictures of the different styles of medical ID bracelets you have available to you. If you have a birthday coming up, this may be the time to make a special request!
(Oh and by the way, clicking directy on a picture will result in taking you to that product’s details page)
Here are some of the varying necklace styles:
You can even wear a medical alert anklet:
And here is my new medical alert bracelet:
I chose this style because right now I’m at home doing housewifey things and frequently changing diapers. It doesn’t suit me to wear a beautiful metal or beaded bracelet right now so I got a cute and playful soft one which my kids have fun tugging on (but, can’t break) and one that won’t scratch them when I pick them up. It’s pink in honor of this site :) Plus, I hope it might later appeal to my daughter since she’ll soon have to wear an ID bracelet for her severe food allergies. I’ve already got my eye on this one for her:
When you are trying to decide which ID to wear, think about your lifestyle. Do you work in a corporate office? Do you work in a restaurant? Do you work in a daycare? You want to select medical alert jewelry that will fit with your lifestyle and not inconvenience you. You also want to be happy to wear it because you shouldn’t go without it. And if we’re talking about a child here, it is recommended they wear bracelets over every other option.
And finally, the cheapest way to get a reliable medical ID card for your purse or wallet:
You can go to N-Style ID’s website and print out a card which you just fill out yourself and carry it with you. (They recommend putting it in a laminated sleeve-good advice). You can also get a trifold card that you also fill out on the computer and print out at Medids.com. That link also gives you info for a $3.95 a year card membership which has more options like fast updates to your card anytime.
Why do I need a medical ID card, you ask? Well, I interviewed a bunch of first responders and emergency medical personnel. These are the people who are the first to check you out in an emergency. We’ve heard they check your neck, wrists, and ankles for medical information.
Just so happens, 30% of the personnel I interviewed said they were not trained to check for medical alert jewelry at all. They were only trained to check your wallet or purse for a medical ID card. Hmm. So knowing they may or may NOT check my body for medical alert jewelry, I’m not taking any chances-I’m going to carry around an ID card in addition to my bracelet! You may want to, too.
MedicAlert company has a very nice program (as well as sturdy medical jewelry) and for about $30 a year you can have the utmost protection. They are probably the most trusted/well known brand out there. Anyway, I suppose your decision must be based on several factors:
How much you have to spend/are willing to spend on this. And, how likely you are to need extra protection. For example, I’ve never been unconscious and don’t have loads of dough stashed so I will probably just stick with the tag and ID card. When my finances go up I’ll go for it because let’s face it-you never know when something will happen.
How to choose the right medical tag for you?
Well, personally I wouldn’t go with a shoe tag (yep, you can get one of those) because I don’t imagine emergency personnel paying attention to the top of your shoe. I wouldn’t go with an anklet for the same reason. I also hesitate to wear a necklace because I don’t know, it seems like something a girl might forget to wear one day or choose not to wear because she is instead wearing a different necklace. So I wear a bracelet. If I try and imagine myself passed out on the floor I see an Emergency Responder checking my pulse and then noticing, “oh gee look at this, a Medical Alert bracelet…hey she’s an insulin dependent diabetic let’s check her blood sugar!” [Yay for me!]
Here is another concern of mine: Some of the bracelets I have seen are nothing short of spectacular. Yet, what if an Emergency Responder glances at it and assumes it is a normal bracelet-nothing to do with a medical alert tag? I asked this question to some Responders and they say that sometimes it has been an issue and other times it hasn’t. So I can’t help but recommend you choose something that shows it’s ID tag loud and clear.
Also, if you have a child that is of school age and plays recreational sports, know that in many cases a metal medical ID bracelet will have to be taped up to prevent scratching or cutting anyone. I had to do this for over 10 years and to this day my left wrist has very little hair on it. I would have preferred something like this:
(Although I wonder if the metal from the tag itself would have to be covered up for sports? If anyone knows about this please comment and fill the rest of us in)
What should you have engraved on your ID? I don’t want to answer this for you because there is limited space on an ID tag and we each have different things we may need engraved. Some things to think about however: Serious allergies should definitely be added. If you have a serious allergy and diabetes, medical personnel should be aware of BOTH. Also, you may want to include your medications and a contact person. My tag just has my first and last name and the fact that I am type 1 diabetic and dependent on insulin. You could consult your doctor. He/she would be able to help you decide what should go on your tag.
So did you like the above pictures showing all the options you have? Nice right? Believe it or not that’s not all that is out there! Some of my favorites are found at StickyJ.com. Click here to check out their amazing and affordable medical ID bracelets.
Here are great websites where you can find medical ID jewelry: (I ordered mine from N-Style ID and shipping was super fast!)
Oh and remember, you can buy an ID tag and have it engraved and then buy different bracelets which can all share the same tag.
If you don’t have some kind of ID, put it on your to do list right away! How often do you have a good excuse to buy jewelry?