If you or a loved one suffers from a medical condition, there’s always that slight worry that EMTs won’t know your particular information in the case of an emergency. As we age we wrangle with additional health conditions. In the event you become ill or experience a medical emergency, it’s good to know that those attending to you will be aware of those conditions.
One way to do this is by wearing a medical alert tag. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of wearing one.
What Is A Medical Alert Tag?
A medical alert tag looks just like a standard military dog tag, except it’s engraved with medical information. Designs vary, but many designs feature a medical condition warning sign on the front, and then the details of your medical conditions on the back. Medical alert tags are worn on a chain around the neck.
What Information Does a Medical Alert Tag Contain?
You can add any information you like to your medical alert tag. There are some space limitations – depending on the size of the individual tag, but most alert tags can support about five short lines of text. However, within those limits, you’re free to add any information you’d like.
People typically add only the most vital medical information. These are the things EMTs or doctors need to know as quickly as possible, such as:
- Whether you have a condition such as diabetes or a heart issues
- If you’re wearing a pacemaker
- Any sensory impairments such as vision or hearing loss
- Medication allergies
- If you’re on medication such as blood thinners or anything else that could interact with different treatments
- If you’re carrying an emergency treatment such as an asthma inhaler or an EpiPen
Where Do I Get a Medical Alert Tag?
Medical dog tags are easy to purchase! A quick search on Amazon or Ebay will turn up lots of options. You can also buy direct from companies such as American Medical ID, Mediband, My Dog Tag, Universal Medical Data, and Lauren’s Hope.
How Much Do Medical Alert Tags Cost?
Most medical alert tags cost around $40, but there are a few cheaper options out there too.
Pros and Cons of Medical Alert ID Tags
Some of the pros of medical alert ID tags include:
- Helps EMTs and doctors give the appropriate treatment
- Vital information is flagged up early
- EMTs are trained to check the neck and wrists for medical jewelry, so there’s a good chance of it being found
- Less worry about EMTs not knowing about medication allergies or existing conditions
- Unobtrusive – at first glance they look just like any dog tag, and plenty of people wear those for different reasons
Some of the cons of medical alert ID bracelets include:
- They have limited space for information
- You can easily forget to put them on
- Dog tags don’t necessarily go with every outfit and might make some wearers feel self-conscious
- Although EMTs are trained to look for them, human error can still happen, and the person attending you might forget to check for medical jewelry
- Wearing one doesn’t help you contact emergency services or summon help if you need it – they’re only useful once the EMTs arrive
Alternatives to Medical Alert Tags
Medical alert tags are a good idea, but they have their limitations. They offer information, which is what they’re designed for, but they can’t actually fetch help for you.
For medical ID tags to be effective, EMTs need to find you. That means either getting to a phone after you fall or become ill, or relying on someone else realizing you’re in distress and getting help for you. A medical alert button is a much better choice for many seniors. With the right medical alert system, you can get help as soon as you need it.
One push of the button connects you to the call center and ensures you can get help. If you’re worried about fainting or falling and not being able to press the button, you can choose a fall detection option that contacts the call center when it detects a fall. Even if you can’t speak to the operator, they’ll know you need help, and act accordingly.
A medical alert button provides much more reassurance and backup than a medical ID can. You can speak to someone as soon as you need help, and the call center staff will stay on the line with you. A medical alert also means you get the most appropriate response. Sometimes that’s EMTs, but other times you simply need a nearby family member or caregiver to come by.
Many medical alert systems also come with a vial of life, to make sure EMTs have access to all your vital medical information. Simply fill out a form with all the details, seal it in a plastic bag, and keep it on your refrigerator. You’ll also be provided with a decal to put on your front door, so EMTs know to look for your vial of life.
It’s reassuring to know that you can get help if you need it. A medical alert system means you can call for help whenever you need it, and you’ll never be left alone if you’re experiencing a medical emergency.