The Importance of Medical Alert Bracelets And RA
I first considered getting a medical alert bracelet when I began teaching undergraduate students. While I knew that they would be able to call 911 if I ever had a medical emergency, I also realized it was important to have my medical information accessible to others in the event that I could not speak for myself.
There are a lot of medical alert bracelets out there, but they are not all created equal, for a variety of reasons.
The first one I purchased was from Lauren’s Hope. The thing that is great about their bracelets is that they actually look like jewelry, not just your standard medical alert ID. I have tried to avoid the ones that look completely like jewelry, and have gone with several that look like regular bracelets, but still have a pronounced medical alert symbol. In other words, Lauren’s Hope IDs are super stylish, and don’t make you feel sick. They make medical alert jewelry look cool, and also have great options for kids.
Road ID bracelets were not specifically created as medical alerts for illness, but were designed for people that do outdoor athletics. Road ID bracelets are silicone with a metal plate the slides on, which keeps their price on the lower side, as far as medical alerts go. While there is a standard version, there is also an interactive version, which allows you to create a profile online that can be accessed by emergency personnel via phone or online. After the first year, it costs $9.99 to host your information.
Similar to Road ID is My ID Square, which is specifically for use as a medical alert bracelet. The main thing about these is that the alert is a QR code, which can be scanned. Like Road ID, there is an online profile you can create that holds all of your medical information. While these bracelets are a bit pricier, the subscription to the online database is included in that price, so you don’t have to pay for it once you’ve purchased an ID. These seem like they would be great for kids.
(Lauren’s Hope now has their own line of “electronic” bracelets).
There are a variety of other medical alert bracelets on the market, and there are also other types of medical alert jewelry that you can buy, but I have decided to stick to the ones that I have had experience with, which happen to be medical alerts that go beyond what we normally think of when we think of medical alerts.
When most of us think of medical alert bracelets, we think of the standard chain-link bracelet with the large metal panel for your information. We don’t think of bracelets you could wear everyday and no one would know their purpose, nor do we think of the bracelet being a preliminary step to our information.
The thing that is really great about hosting your medical information online is that you are able to provide so much more information than you can on a standard medical alert bracelet. This is especially useful for those of us with multiple chronic illnesses. A list of illnesses can take up all of the available space on a traditional medical alert bracelet, and while that’s helpful, it’s not enough of the necessary information medical professionals need to have access to in a medical emergency.
And to be clear, I’m not referring to bracelets that come with a button you press, which will automatically dial 911. I’m not there yet… What I’m talking about here are bracelets that either say what illnesses you have and any other important information on them, or are connected to an online account that hosts your important medical information.
The reality is that no matter how visually pleasing or technologically advanced a medical alert bracelet is, the real test is how it works in the clutch.
Thankfully, I have yet to have a real need for my medical alert bracelet. But I do find comfort in knowing that I have done what I can to protect myself in a medical emergency.
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