A medical alert bracelet is a bracelet with a small tag on it that outlines some important medical condition of the wearer that might require immediate medical attention if something happens to him/her. The purpose of a medical bracelet is to ensure that even if the person is unconscious or is too young to speak persons around him/her have an idea of what needs to be done in an emergency situation. Medical personnel especially will be better able to diagnose a problem and administer life-saving medication more quickly if a patient is wearing a medical alert bracelet that states his/her condition instead of having to run tests to find out what may be wrong.
There are a number of serious conditions that require immediate attention and therefore a tag is used. A few of these conditions are:
- Having a rare blood type
- Drug allergies
People also wear medical alert bracelets that outline specific medical directives; for example a “Do Not Revive” order to prevent medical personnel from trying to revive them in an emergency situation or a Living Will directive which outlines certain actions that should be taken if the wearer is unable to make decisions, or it specifies who should make decisions on behalf of the wearer while he/she is unable to do so.
Some people wear their medical tag on a necklace instead of a bracelet while others keep the information on a card inside their wallets. In more recent times a USB flash drive is used which holds much more data than the regular tags. The disadvantage with a USB tag is that a computer is required to view the information so if a computer is not available at the time there is no way to view the data.
In more recent times people have begun using tattoos as their medical tags by tattooing their medical condition onto their bodies; the advantage to doing this is that the tag can never be misplaced and persons that are very active don’t have to worry about the bracelet or necklace snapping. The disadvantage however is that medical personnel may not notice the tattoo because of where it is located or simply because they are not expecting to find the person’s medical information in tattoo form.
Some medical alert bracelets are used to show that the wearer is attached to a specific medical information organization such as the MedicAlert Foundation. The tag provides a member identification number and a toll-free number to contact the organization. Medical personnel can call the organization which has a record of the person’s medical conditions and medical history and can provide details in an emergency situation.
Some medical information organizations will give you medical alert bracelets when you become a member but if you would like to get one without having to join an organization there are several sites online where you can buy them. You can buy a pre-engraved bracelet or you can have one engraved to suit your needs.